The Big East coaching fraternity just (re)added a legend.
Per multiple reports, Rick Pitino and St. John’s have agreed on a six-year deal for Pitino to be the next head coach of the Red Storm, and CBS’ Jon Rothstein says Pitino will be introduced Tuesday at MSG.
Pitino, 70, had been rumored to be St. John’s head coach even while his Iona Gaels were still in the NCAA Tournament, and the legendary coach downplayed that idea after Iona was eliminated by UConn in the first round.
However, now, it looks to be official that the NYC-born Pitino returns to the five boroughs and the Big East. He replaces Mike Anderson, who was 68-56 over four seasons after replacing Chris Mullin in 2019.
Pitino spent almost exactly three calendar years as the head man at Iona, replacing Tim Cluess on March 14, 2020 – right as the COVID-19 pandemic began – and he led the Gaels to a 64-22 record, two MAAC Championships, and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Over his career, Pitino has an official record of 711-290, and he has led all five of his schools to the NCAA Tournament at least once, including three to the Final Four – Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville – and won NCAA titles at the latter two stops.
However, his tenure at Louisville saw the NCAA later vacate 123 wins and three losses from 2011-12 to 2014-15, as well as the National Championship the Cardinals won in 2013, due to a 2015 scandal that eventually led to Pitino’s ouster.
Pitino also has a 192-220 record as an NBA head coach over five-plus seasons with the Knicks and Celtics, and he was 18-19 in two seasons with Panathinaikos in Greece between his stints at Louisville and Iona.
This will be Pitino’s third stint in the Big East, as Providence was in the Big East in both of his years there and Louisville was a member from 2005-06 to 2012-13 before the conference split.
He will be one of at least three “new” coaches in the league in 2023-24, as Georgetown just named former Providence head coach Ed Cooley as their new bench boss earlier Monday, and Providence will hire a new head coach to replace Cooley.
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