On March 16, the University of New Mexico announced that it had hired Richard Pitino as the new head coach for the men’s basketball team.
In the time since his introductory press conference, Pitino has begun to fill out his coaching staff for next season.
While most assistant coaches’ contracts expire on April 30, Pitino said he’s “trying to take my time, hire the right guys, making sure that they all fit because the bottom line is it’s not going to be about one guy.”
With that in mind, Andy Hill and Issac Chew were the first set of assistant coaches hired onto Pitino’s staff.
“I am very humbled and honored to join Coach Pitino’s staff and be a part of Lobo Nation,” Chew said.
Chew’s most recent coaching job was at Grand Canyon University, which participated in this year's NCAA tournament.
Hill, who helped the Utah University program go to back-to-back NCAA tournaments and three NIT appearances, said he was excited to join the Lobo team.
“I am very honored, excited and thankful to be a part of the University of New Mexico, the Albuquerque community and Lobo basketball,” Hill said.
Pitino also announced that Robert Edwards, the current Lobo video coordinator, will remain on staff.
“I look forward to learning from Coach Pitino and the rest of the coaching staff,” Edwards said.
Pitino added that the assistant coaches are “well rounded,” and that, “both of those guys have got great experience. They’ve worked for terrific coaches. They’ve recruited very good players. They know what winning looks like.”
In addition to these hires, several Lobos have been seen at the Rudy Davalos practice facility, including senior Makuach Maluach, who could return next season due to NCAA COVID-19 rules that granted players an extra year of eligibility.
Pitino didn’t elaborate on whether Maluach would come back next season, but said he’s trying to persuade the senior to return.
“I’m slowly but surely trying to tell him, 'Hey, you can come back,'” Pitino said.
Pitino had to deal with player turnover early on, as three Lobos have entered the NCAA’s transfer portal — guards Keith McGee and Isaiah Marin and freshman center Bayron Matos.
As of the publication of this article, there’s no timetable for hiring the remaining members of Pitino’s staff, and no decisions have been made on the remaining assistant coaches Dan McHale, Scott Padgett and Ralph Davis.
Spencer Butler is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SpencerButler48