St. John’s plans to finalize deal with Rick Pitino as head coach: report

Mar 17, 2023; Albany, NY, USA; Iona Gaels head coach Rick Pitino instructs his team against the UConn Huskies during the second half at MVP Arena. / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

After missing out on the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight year and firing head coach Mike Anderson on March 10, St. John’s reportedly has its plan for their next men’s basketball head coaching hire.

The Red Storm intend to finalize a deal with Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino as the school’s men’s basketball head coach in the coming days, according to a report Friday evening by Fox Sports’ John Fanta.

Pitino led Iona to the 2023 NCAA Tournament, where the Gaels earned a No. 13 seed in the Big Dance before falling to No. 4 seed UConn on Friday.

“Not really,” Pitino said Friday, via 247Sports, when asked if he had a timeline to make a decision. “You know, I really haven’t put any thought into it at all. I hear the question from you, and I think when you start thinking ahead, you always fail. We put a lot of effort into this game. I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s right for me, another job. I don’t know that. It’s something, like I said before, I know you’re all alluding to St. John’s, but I’ve never seen St. John’s.”

Texas Tech is also an active suitor for Pitino, according to the New York Post.

Providence — if head coach Ed Cooley leaves for Georgetown — is another potential landing spot for Pitino, according to CBS Sports.

Pitino led the Friars from 1985-87 before becoming the Knicks’ head coach (1987-89).

Pitino is the only coach to lead three colleges (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville) to the Final Four. He won the National Championship with Kentucky in 1996 and with Louisville in 2013, although that title was vacated due to NCAA violations. After being fired by Louisville, Pitino coached the Greek EuroLeague team Panathinaikos for two seasons before becoming Iona’s head coach in 2020.

Pitino was also an assistant with the Knicks from 1983-85.