Rick Pitino Lands New Job: Report
By Jason Hall
March 20, 2023
Iona men's basketball coach Rick Pitino has reportedly been hired by St. John's University to become the school's next head coach as part of a six-year deal, sources with knowledge of the move told ESPN's Pete Thamel.
The update comes hours after Thamel and ESPN colleague Jeff Borzello reported that Pitino was "in serious discussions" with St. John's University officials on Monday (March 20).
Pitino, 70, has long been suspected to be a favorite for the position after the Red Storm fired former head coach Mike Anderson on March 10, but St. John's reportedly had to wait for Iona to be eliminated in the NCAA March Madness Tournament, which happened last Friday (March 17) during a blowout loss to UConn, before formal discussions could take place.
St. John's officials reportedly met with Pitino on Sunday (March 19) and the discussions were perceived as productive, with more clarity on the situation expected to be given later this week. The former national champion laid out his vision for the program during Sunday's meeting, a source confirmed to ESPN.
Pitino was reported to be interested in the position given his chance to compete for a Big East championship and national title, but wanted validation that the program would give its full support, specifically in relation to name, image and likeness space.
Pitino spent the past three season as Iona's head coach, having previously coached overseas following his termination from Louisville in 2017, which stemmed from an FBI investigation into the program that led to his 2013 national championship being revoked. The Cardinals were linked to an investigation into Adidas paying $100,000 to then-five-star prospect Brian Bowen in an effort to get him to sign with the program.
Pitino -- along with athletic director Tom Jurich -- was fired for cause, but the NCAA decided not to punish him after an independent resolution panel instead levied penalties against the school last November.
"I had to wait five years for them to basically stall my career out to finally get exonerated," Pitino said on Saturday (March 18) via ESPN. "I was exonerated by an impartial committee made up of legal people, legal people, not ADs and not people ... they handpick. So for five years they put me in the outhouse because they couldn't get their stuff together.
"So it's just the breaks of the game. You can't look back. The past, it's always cherished. You learn from it, you cherish the past. I've been to seven Final Fours, two championships, and I cherish that. I also learn from the mistakes that were made."
Pitino had also previously won a national championship as the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats in 1996 and had worked as a head coach for the NBA's New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, as well as Providence College.