June 19, 2024

Brighton Journal

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Rick Pitino agrees to a 6-year contract with St. John’s

Rick Pitino agrees to a 6-year contract with St. John’s

Adrian Wojnarowski and Pete Tamiel3 minutes to read

Lafonso Ellis praises St. John’s hiring of Rick Pitino

LaPhonso Ellis expects big things from Rick Pitino at the St. John’s.

Iona head coach Rick Pitino has been named the new head coach at St. John’s, returning to the Big East Conference with ambitions to return the Red Storm to national prominence.

The school announced Pitino’s appointment but did not disclose the terms. Sources told ESPN that Pitino has agreed to a six-year contract.

It will be presented at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

Pitino told the Gaels in a meeting Monday afternoon that he was leaving the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference team that he had led to two NCAA Tournament appearances in his three seasons in charge.

Betino thanked Iona’s management and players in a series of tweets on Monday.

He wrote on Twitter: “…not sad that it’s over. I’m so thankful it happened.”

St. John Pitino, 70, has called hard since coach Mike Anderson’s recent firing, and secured him with what’s being described as a lucrative financial package.

Pitino is the only coach to lead three programs to the Final Four (Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville), winning national titles with Kentucky and Louisville.

In a meeting with St. John’s officials on Sunday, a source told ESPN, Pitino offered his vision for the program. Pitino has reached out to officials about the school’s commitment, with sources saying he will take the position with the intention of competing for the Big East championship and national title. This would require significant support both in the program and in the namespace, image, and similarity. The two sides talked about what was needed to move the program forward.

Betino will be St. John’s most decorated coach since Lou Carnesca stepped down in 1992. Betino is a Hall of Fame coach who has made seven Final Four appearances.

St. John’s has been to two Final Fours four times in its history and has reached only three NCAA Tournaments since 2002. Not only has Pitino won two national titles, but he has coached to 23 NCAA Tournaments.

Over that period since 2002, St. John’s has served as head coaches through Mike Jarvis, Norm Roberts, Steve LaVine, Chris Mullen, and Anderson.

Pitino is a New York native, and he coached with the Knicks as an assistant under Hobee Brown and as the franchise’s head coach from 1987 to 1989. His return to the city would immediately kick-start the school’s importance in the local sports scene, which had faded in recent years.

It appears that Pitino’s career and the St. John’s program are intersecting at a time when they need each other. Louisville fired Pitino in October 2017 after an FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball, which eventually led to him getting a job in Greece before taking over for Iona in 2020.

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