The staff is now complete.
Richard Pitino on Tuesday announced via a school press release that he has hired former Arizona State and UNLV staffer Eric Brown as his third assistant for the Lobo men’s basketball team. He joins Isaac Chew and Andy Hill as the three assistant coaches on Pitino’s first staff at UNM.
The school said Pitino would be available on Wednesday afternoon to media to discuss the hire.
Brown, who was an assistant at ASU two seasons ago and shifted to Director of Team Operations this past season on Bobby Hurley’s staff, is familiar with the Mountain West from his stint at UNLV from 2016 to 2019. He has also been on staffs at Long Beach State, Iowa State, USC and Cal State Northridge.
His contract indicates he will earn $130,000 per season at UNM.
UNM also stated former assistant Dan McHale, who was once an assistant to Pitino at Minnesota and who is the lone person on staff from this past season who was working with a multi-year contract, would be shifting over to a special assistant to the head coach position. That move would also entail McHale’s previously contracted salary of $170,000 to drop to $110,000. He takes the spot of Dave Pilipovich, who along with Scott Padgett and Ralph Davis will not be retained on the Lobos staff, though all three remain under contract at UNM until April 30. None of the three has yet announced where he might be working next season.
Aki Collins, who served as the program’s Director of Operations this past season, has recently accepted a position on the staff at Penn State. UNM will not have an operations director this coming season, and those duties will be absorbed by other staff members.
Nick Michael will be retained as the program’s strength coach, and last week the team announced Robert Edwards was staying on as video coordinator.
The salary pool for the Lobo coaching staff remained at $620,000 – the same for Pitino as it was this past season for former coach Paul Weir. That figure in the 2020-21 season was slightly (5.9% to be exact) above the Mountain West average of $585,310.70 for salary pools, according to reviews of contracts available throughout the league.
Pitino’s contract has not yet been made public. The term sheet released last month did not include bonus pay or buyout terms.
MOVING ON: Walk-on guard Daniel Headdings announced on social media this week he is entering the transfer portal.
The 6-foot-2 second-year freshman from Wasilla, Alaska, redshirted in the 2019-20 season and appeared in six games this past season for Paul Weir’s Lobos, averaging 1.3 points. He twice scored 3 points in a game this past season – in a Dec. 15 win over Division III LeTourneau and in a Dec. 21 loss at Boise State. He also had a pair of assists and a blocked shot in a March 3 loss at Colorado State.
MOVING ON, PART 2: Nestor Dyachok, a 6-foot-8 forward from Russia who played this season at Bishop Walsh High School in Maryland and signed a National Letter of Intent in November to play for the Lobos next season announced last week he would not be coming to UNM to play for Pitino and is re-opening his recruitment.
Fellow November signee Jamel King, a 6-7 wing from Alabama who played this past season at Scottsdale’s Bella Vista Prep, has said he still intends to play at UNM.