FIU hires Norfolk St. basketball coach to replace Pitino

Eduardo Almaguer/Sports Director

Shortly after the 10-day deadline Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment Pete Garcia set to hire a new men’s basketball coach, news broke that Anthony Evans filled the vacant position.

Several news outlets reported that Evans will take the reins to the FIU program about two weeks after former Head Coach Richard Pitino left to the University of Minnesota. He is set to be introduced on April 16.

Evans headed the Norfolk St. men’s basketball program for six years and is recently coming off a 21-12 season in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference where his team was a spotless 16-0 in the conference.

He owns a 99-94 overall record with the Spartans and a 47-22 record in the last two seasons. Last June, Evans signed a three-year contract extension with the Spartans through the 2016-17 season. His base salary was $175,000.

Evans’ best season came in the 2011-12 season where he led his squad to a 26-10 season, a MEAC championship and defeated No.2 Missouri in the first round of the NCAA tournament before losing to Florida.

Evans comes into FIU with high expectations after Pitino revamped a program that hadn’t seen a winning season in 13 years. The Panthers capped their most recent season with their first trip to the Sun Belt Conference in program history, an eventual loss to Western Kentucky.

Evans, however, has experience turning programs around too, bouncing back from three straight sub-.500 seasons from 2008-11 before his superb ‘11-’12 season.

Several basketball players were waiting to see who the new coach would be before deciding whether to transfer. Junior guard Malik Smith, however, opted not to wait, asking for his release after Pitino’s departure.

While no players were available for comment, junior forward Tymell Murphy expressed excitement via Twitter.

“Anthony Evans is from Brooklyn,” Murphy tweeted. “We win again.”

Evans began his coaching career at Ulster County Community College in New York in 2001 and followed that up with two years at Delhi Tech. He then became an assistant coach for the at Norfolk St. from 2003-07 where he eventually took the head coaching gig.