Rick Pitino is returning to the Big East Conference to coach St. John’s in an attempt to get them back on the national map. The school announced the hiring of Pitino, and sources informed ESPN that the deal was for six years.
A press conference will be held Tuesday, where Pitino will be announced. He coached at Iona for the past three seasons, posting a 64-22 record. Pitino informed the Gaels in a meeting on Monday that he was leaving the MAAC team, thanking the administration for the opportunity to lead the team to two NCAA appearances.
St. John’s pursued Pitino after they fired coach Mike Anderson. Pitino put out a clear plan for the program, looking to compete for the Big East title and success in the NCAA tournament during his tenure.
The 70-year-old Pitino will be the most prominent coach of the program since Lou Carnesecca roamed the sideline until 1992. St. John’s has been to the NCAA tournament twice in the last 21 years, while Pitino has won two titles and made 23 NCAA tournament appearances.
Pitino also spent time coaching in the NBA as an assistant with his home state New York Knicks under Hubie Brown. He also took over as head coach, going 90-74 in two seasons. Pitino also was head coach of the Boston Celtics from 1997-2001, going 102-146.
Although Pitino has had a significant amount of coaching success, his record isn’t squeaky clean. He was fired from his coaching job at Louisville in October 2017 after an investigation into corruption in college basketball. Pitino left for Greece before taking the Iona job in 2020.
Pitino has 834 career wins against 293 losses with five collegiate teams. His only losing season came in 1980-81 while at Boston University.
As we welcome Rick Pitino as the new head coach at St. John’s, we also say goodbye to Jim Boeheim who is out as coach of Syracuse.