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Minnesota’s parting gift to Pitino: $125K

New UNM men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino is shown during his introductory press conference last month at University Stadium. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Now, Richard Pitino really is no longer the University of Minnesota coach.

Well, after he collects one final payment of $125,000 per a separation agreement he and the university came to last week, and that the Journal reviewed on Wednesday.

The 38-year-old, who already has been named the new head coach of the University of New Mexico Lobos men’s basketball team, and his previous employer appear to have broken up on rather amicable terms, as both sides pretty publicly have said.

Minnesota agreed to pay Pitino $125,000 in bonus money as the Gophers basketball team is “expected to achieve academic milestones” that were in his contract. The university said the decision was about the university’s “commitment to the academic success of its student-athletes.”

Pitino coached Minnesota for eight seasons, and his contract was to run through April 30, 2024.

That contract called for Pitino to be paid as much as $1.75 million if fired without cause before April 30, or Pitino to pay Minnesota $500,000 if he chose to end the deal before April 30.

Both sides agreed those penalties will not be paid.

As for Pitino’s new contract with UNM, it’s still not signed or even finalized according to UNM.

He did sign a term sheet stipulating some of the framework of what is essentially a six-year, $5 million deal to coach the Lobos. What wasn’t included in the UNM term sheet the Journal reviewed was any information about buyout penalties – either owed to UNM if Pitino chooses to leave the job before the end of the contract or what UNM would owe Pitino if it fires him before the end of the contract. There were also no details about bonus or incentive pay.

As part of the separation agreement for Pitino’s predecessor, Paul Weir, UNM is on the hook for $590,000 – $245,000 paid to Weir in each of the next two years as well as UNM agreeing to pay $50,000 in each of the next two years to New Mexico State University. The payment to NMSU is for the buyout Weir owed the rival Aggies after breaking his contract to coach the rival in-state school in 2017.

So far, Pitino has hired two new assistant coaches – Andy Hill and Isaac Chew – each at $170,000 per season while Weir’s former staff of assistant coaches Dan McHale, Scott Padgett and Ralph Davis as well as special assistant to the head coach Dave Pilipovich all remain under contract at UNM until April 30. It remains to be seen for sure if Pitino will retain any of those four.

ELSEWHERE: Tim Miles, the former Colorado State and Nebraska coach who was a finalist for the UNM opening Pitino filled was formally introduced on Wednesday as the new coach at fellow Mountain West school San Jose State. …

• Liberty University on Wednesday announced a contract extension with former Lobos coach Ritchie McKay through the 2028 season.

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