Richard Pitino, amid talk of Alabama's interest, says he's 'very happy' coaching at Minnesota

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MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said Friday he's "very happy" with his current position and "working extremely hard" to bring the state a great basketball program.

Pitino issued a statement through the university, prompted by speculation about Alabama's interest in him for the vacancy created last month when Anthony Grant was fired. Pitino's name also popped up as a potential candidate for openings at St. John's and Tennessee.

"Let me simply say that I am very happy at the University of Minnesota," Pitino said. "I am grateful to be coaching and living in such a great community that cares so much about this incredible university as well as its basketball program.

"I am also extremely fortunate to be working for one of the best athletic directors in the country in Norwood Teague. This state deserves a great basketball program and we are working extremely hard to bring them one."

The 32-year-old Pitino completed his second season at Minnesota, finishing 18-15 after guiding the Gophers to the National Invitation Tournament championship with a 25-13 record the year before.

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