Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Pitino is set to join St. John’s as its new men’s basketball coach.
The university announced the deal Monday afternoon. The deal is for six years, according to ESPN.
“We are thrilled to announce Hall of Fame coach and New York native Rick Pitino will lead our men’s basketball program into the next chapter of its long and storied history,” St. John’s athletic director Mike Cragg said in a news release. “Coach Pitino is one of the most brilliant minds in the history of the game and has won at the highest levels everywhere he has coached. There is no doubt in my mind he will restore a championship-level program and culture for St. John’s Basketball.”
Pitino, 70, spent the past three seasons as head coach at Iona. The Gaels won the MAAC conference in 2021 and 2023 with Pitino being named the conference’s coach of the year in 2022 and 2023. Iona went a combined 64-22 and 40-9 in regular-season conference play under Pitino.
Iona lost to Connecticut in the first round of the 2023 men’s NCAA Tournament.
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The veteran coach is perhaps best known for his stint at Louisville from 2001 to 2017 and for winning a national championship with the Cardinals in 2013. Pitino left Louisville following a recruiting scandal but was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the NCAA’s independent panel. Louisville, however, had to vacate 123 wins and its 2013 title.
Pitino also won a championship as Kentucky’s head coach in 1996. His all-time record is 711-290. He is one of two coaches to take three different schools (Providence, Kentucky, Louisville) to the Final Four.
After he left Louisville, Pitino coached for Panathinaikos, a professional basketball team based in Athens, Greece. Pitino also coached professionally for the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
Pitino now heads back to the Big East with the Red Storm. He is expected to be introduced during a news conference at noon at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.
The Journal News and LoHud.com contributed to this report.