Just hours after his Iona Gaels were bounced from the NCAA Tournament, a report surfaced that head coach Rick Pitino was on his way back to a bigger stage.
According to Fox Sports college basketball insider John Fanta, St. John’s “plans to finalize” a deal with Pitino “in the coming days” to make the Hall of Famer their next head coach.
Pitino, 70, was bounced in the first round of the tournament in a 24-point loss to UConn on Friday afternoon, though it was a game that was still tightly contested early in the second half.
Behind Pitino, Iona has turned in two straight 30-win seasons and consecutive March Madness appearances. It is the fifth school Pitino has led to the tournament, and he is the only coach in college basketball history to lead three different programs to the Final Four (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville).
Reports quickly surfaced after St. John’s parted ways with Mike Anderson last week that Pitino would be aggressively pursued by the Red Storm, and now, the decision will seemingly lie with Pitino, as St. John’s, a program starving for a return to glory, has reportedly made it known that Pitino is their top choice.
Follow Ryan Chichester on Twitter: @ryanchichester1
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