Update March 20 2:52 p.m. More verification of Pitino as the new head coach at St. John’s according to a confirming report by ESPN.
A Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer will be making his return to the Big East.
St. John’s has hired Iona head coach Rick Pitino to fill its coaching vacancy, per Big East legend John Fanta. The news comes just days after the school parted ways with now former head coach Mike Anderson following an 18-15 season.
NEW: St. John's intends to finalize a deal with Rick Pitino to hire the Hall of Famer as its next head coach, sources tell FOX Sports.— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) March 18, 2023
My story: https://t.co/9tILHTkAnK
Pitino heads to Queens, NY, after a successful three-year stint at Iona where he led the Gaels to two regular season MAAC championships and one MAAC Tournament title. He fell 87=63 to his new rival UConn in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament.
He is, of course, one of the most accomplished head coaches in the history of college basketball, hence his aforementioned HOF credentials. The 70-year-old veteran has led three different programs to a combined seven Final Four appearances and picked up national championships in his stints at both Kentucky and Louisville. However, his reputation took a tremendous hit as a series of scandals brought his 16-year tenure at Louisville to an end with his firing in 2017.
As a Long Island native and former head coach of the New York Knicks, Pitino now returns home to the Big East, where he won the fabled conference tournament at Madison Square Garden on three different occasions. He will be tasked with jumpstarting a St. John’s program that has reached the NCAA Tournament just four times since the turn of the century.