“Richard’s got an opportunity right now to go back to Louisville as the associate head coach with an opportunity to possibly be the coach-in-waiting there,” Donovan said.
“The situation at Louisville is really going to depend on how he feels about (being the coach-in-waiting), whether he wants to do something like that. I know it’s been talked about for him … How he feels about that is probably something he’ll talk to his dad and the A.D. about, but I know that’s something that has been talked about.”
If that has been discussed, it makes sense that Donovan would know about it. Louisville’s current head coach, Rick Pitino, is Richard’s father. Rick Pitino and Donovan have been close for more than two decades.
Donovan played for Rick Pitino at Providence, then coached under him at Kentucky.
The younger Pitino has never been a head coach, which would seem to make him an unusual choice for a program as prestigious as Louisville. He recently was considered for head-coaching jobs at Iona, Florida Gulf Coast and Missouri State, but was not offered the jobs.
Despite his age, he already has assembled a solid career. After one-year stints as an assistant at Northeastern and Duquesne, he spent two seasons at Louisville and the past two years at Florida.
“Richard’s very, very close to being a head coach,” Donovan said. “I think in today’s day and age, people say, ‘Wow, he’s really young,’ but Richard’s done it the right way … He’s worked his way up; he just wasn’t handed the Louisville job and the Florida job. He worked through it.
“It’s a matter of time before he’s going to have his opportunity to become a head coach. I think besides having a chance to go back to Louisville and be the head coach, the thing that was more important to him was having a chance to be reunited with his father and mother.”