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Minnesota Basketball: Richard Pitino hires Jeff Mailhot as assistant coach

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Pitino fills out his staff by hiring Mailhot to replace Rob Jeter

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Des Moines Practice Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

You may recall in March that Rob Jeter left the Gopher staff to take the head job at Western Illinois after 2 years on Richard Pitino’s staff.

That position has been filled as the University of Minnesota has announced that Jeff Mailhot will be the newest addition to the Gopher basketball staff.

Mailhot was an assistant at Iona last season and spent 2 years at New Mexico State prior to that. But from a Minnesota perspective it is important to note that Mailhot is a Hopkins alum and spent time at Hopkins as an assistant. He was also at Robbinsdale Cooper for one season while Rodney Williams as in high school. In between his high school assistant days and working for the Lobos and Aggies, he spent time in the JUCO ranks.

The Hopkins and Cooper notes are important because one of the biggest criticisms of the Richard Pitino staff is their struggles to recruit local kids. The hope here is that Mailhot is able to help bridge that gap with his local ties.

“Jeff is a perfect fit for our program,” Pitino said. “He has advanced through all levels of basketball and has a proven reputation as a recruiter and hard worker. In addition to his coaching experience, he is a Minnesota native and has a great understanding of Gopher basketball. We are excited to add Jeff to our staff.”

This should be a solid hire for Pitino has they head into a pivotal year for the program.