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Rick Pitino hired by St. John’s After Time in Iona

ALBANY, NY — Rick Pitino has agreed to a six-year contract to become the new men’s basketball coach at St. John’s, two people with direct knowledge of the decision said Monday.

One of the people said Pitino would be featured at a noon Tuesday press conference at Madison Square Garden, where he coached Patrick Ewing and the Knicks in the late 1980s and where St. John’s plays some of his home matches. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the decision, which had not been officially announced.

Pitino joining St. John’s becomes the second major coaching change in the Big East this offseason. Also on Monday, Georgetown announced it had hired Ed Cooley away from Providence to replace Ewing, who was let go as coach this month. Cooley is the first men’s coach in the league to move directly from one Big East team to another.

Pitino, the Hall of Fame coach who was fired from Louisville in 2017 after a series of scandals, has spent the past three seasons at Iona University, the private Catholic school of about 3,000 undergraduates. in New Rochelle, NY Pitino led Iona on a 14-game winning streak to capture the regular season and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament championship, then lost to Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

This will be Pitino’s third stint in the Big East Conference after coaching at Providence and Louisville, but he won’t have to move. He can stay at his home at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, NY, while taking his star power to games in Jamaica, Queens and Madison Square Garden. He is expected to bring some of his staff from Iona with him to St. John’s.

St. John’s fired Mike Anderson on March 10 after missing three NCAA tournaments. (Anderson coached for four seasons, but the tournament didn’t take place in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.) The Red Storms haven’t played in the tournament since 2019.

Pitino had the backing of longtime St. John’s coach Lou Carnesecca.

“I don’t think we can find a better coach,” Carnesecca, 98, told Fox 5 New York of Pitino before Pitino’s decision was made public. He added: “Okay? You can’t bring Naismith back.

What we consider before using anonymous sources. Do the sources know the information? What is their motivation for telling us? Have they proven themselves in the past? Can we corroborate the information? Even with those questions answered, the Times uses anonymous sources as a last resort. The journalist and at least one editor know the identity of the source.

Pitino met Sunday night on the St. John’s campus with the Reverend Brian J. Shanley, the president of St. John’s, who spent 15 years as president of Providence before heading to St. John’s in 2020. Pitino said outlined its vision for the program, which includes investing in improved facilities. Pitino said last week that Shanley once offered him the job at Providence while he was in Louisville.

When asked on Thursday if St. John’s could go back to the heights it reached when it reached the Final Four in 1985 with fellow Big East members Georgetown and Villanova, Pitino said new rules in the college sports to allow athletes to have authorized endorsement agreements for any program to compete.

“Obviously you lose for a reason, but any place can be built,” he said.

Despite a checkered history that included several scandals at Louisville, Pitino is considered one of the best coaches in college basketball history.

He is the only coach to lead two different men’s programs – Kentucky and Louisville – to the national championships, although the 2013 title at Louisville was vacated and Pitino lost his job there after an FBI investigation in which two assistant coaches were found. accused of embezzling money from the university’s clothing sponsor, Adidas, to high school recruits. Pitino has long said he was unaware of the scheme, or any other involving a staff member soliciting prostitutes and strippers for players and rookies.

“You can win a banner, but you can’t win a national championship,” Pitino said Thursday.

Pitino left coaching for over a year, then coached a professional team in Greece before returning to the university ranks at Iona.

Several current and former Big East coaches think Pitino will be a big — and potentially scary — addition to the league.

“Anything that happens with super strong programs in our league will only be good for the Big East,” Connecticut coach Dan Hurley said Thursday.

Pitino said last week he hoped to be a coach for another decade.

“Well, I’m physically fit and mentally I think I still have it,” Pitino said on Thursday. “But my wife always says, ‘If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.’ I think you just take it a year at a time.

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