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New FIU Coach Vows To Continue Pitino’s Success

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OMAHA, NE - MARCH 16: Head coach Anthony Evans of the Norfolk State Spartans reacts as he coaches in the first half against the Missouri Tigers during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

OMAHA, NE – MARCH 16: Head coach Anthony Evans of the Norfolk State Spartans reacts as he coaches in the first half against the Missouri Tigers during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 16, 2012 in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida International University is set to name Anthony Evans as the team’s new men’s basketball coach later Tuesday, but CBS4’s Sports team caught up with Evans late Monday as he arrived in Miami to ask him about his new job.

“It’s great to be here, really, really excited,” Evans said after getting off the plane at Miami International Airport. “I love the school and love Miami.”

Evans described the last few days as a “whirlwind.”

“I’ve been on more planes than I have been in three months,” Evans said. “But it’s been great and I’m glad I’m here.”

Evans spent six seasons at Norfolk State and last season guided the Spartans to 26 victories and their first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament championship. As a No. 15 seed in their first NCAA tournament, they upset Missouri before falling to Florida.

The Spartans went 16-0 in the MEAC during the regular season this year, but lost their opener in the conference tournament.

Evans spoke highly of his former team and indicated the program was supportive of his decision to take the FIU job.

“They’re my family and they know that,” Evans said. “This was an opportunity that I felt like was good for me at this point and they understood that.”

The natural question for Evans was what appealed about the FIU job, other than of course the nearly perfect climate in South Florida. Evans said it was a family atmosphere and that “everyone involved has opened their arms up and it was just wonderful.”

Evans faces a tough job taking over for former head coach Richard Pitino who left after just one year on the job at FIU. But Pitino did something no other coach has been able to do in recent memory, turn the Panthers into a winning team, finishing the season over .500.

Evans doesn’t see a need to completely reinvent the wheel and instead wants to continue the success of last year.

“We want to build on that success (from last season). Coach Pitino did a great job. The guys that were here did a wonderful job and we want to continue that,” Evans said. “We’re going to continue to play like we did last year. We’re going to get up and down the floor and we’re going to make it exciting for them and for the fans and everyone involved.”

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