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Alabama 'Showing Interest' In Gophers Coach Richard Pitino

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The coaching carousel is spinning as we head into the Final Four with some coaches departing programs and others filling openings.

Richard Pitino just finished his second season with the Gophers, but his name is being thrown in the mix to take over an SEC program. Several outlets are reporting that the University of Alabama, which recently let Anthony Grant go, is showing interest in Pitino.

Pitino has spent much of his time since the Gophers' season ended out on the recruiting trail and following his father, Rick Pitino, and the Louisville Cardinals in the NCAA Tournament. Louisville had a chance to get to the Final Four, but lost to Michigan State.

It's the second straight year Pitino's name has been thrown out in head coaching vacancies and it's not the first time he's been liked to Alabama. In his first season with the Gophers, Pitino helped lead the program to an NIT title.

Fans were hoping it was a sign of bigger things ahead this season, but it didn't translate as the Gophers missed the NCAA Tournament again, finishing 18-15 on the season and 6-12 in the Big Ten. That mark included an 0-5 start to conference play. Minnesota didn't have a postseason this year after not getting invited to the NIT and turning down an invite to the College Basketball Invitational.

Pitino recently posted in a blog on the Gophers web site that he's excited about the incoming 2015 recruiting class, which he may not be done filling, and that he is looking forward to building the program. Next year will be Pitino's third in Minnesota, and it's a critical time to move the Gophers forward after this year's disappointment.

He already has a recruiting class ranked in the top 30 in the country with incoming freshmen including DeLaSalle's Jarvis Johnson, Dupree McBrayer, Kevin Dorsey and Jonathan Nwankwo.

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