"It was a big treat to spend three years with him and I was hoping it would go longer, but we're very excited that he's getting this opportunity," Pitino said. "One of the reasons [he left] is he felt very comfortable recruiting Florida because he was the assistant at Florida and recruited Rak, and spent a lot of time recruiting the state. He felt that was why it was a great fit. I told him any job is a great job if you can recruit great players. He felt he could do that there."
During Pitino's time as an assistant at Louisville, the Cardinals won three Big East titles and advanced to two Elite Eight's and the Final Four.
"I think he's more than ready to be a head coach," Pitino said. "He reminds me so much of Billy Donovan, that's the highest compliment I could give anybody."
Richard Pitino handled 95 percent of the scouting duties last season. Pitino said he plans to give those duties to current assistant Kevin Keatts next season.
"Kevin Keatts will probably move into that role," Pitino said. "He did a good job this year and he observed Richard. He's ready to move into that role."
Now, the question becomes who will replace Pitino on UofL's bench next season? Pitino said he had 'some people in mind' but didn't provide names of candidates he'll consider for the open position on his staff.
"I don't think there's any reason to move real fast on it," said Pitino. "There's no timetable right now, we've already signed our recruits. It's players that help you win so we want a combination of a person who can be a good recruiter, scout and loyal person to the program. I don't hire assistant coaches. I hire future head coaches, so they have to have those qualities."
Mark Lieberman, Louisville's director of basketball operations, will join Richard Pitino's new staff at FIU. Pitino said he'll promote Andre McGee, a graduate assistant, as Lieberman's replacement.
"Andre is going to move into the ops position, so I need to get a graduate assistant," Pitino said.