Momentum continues to build connecting legendary coach Rick Pitino to the St. John’s University men’s basketball program.
Pitino, who currently is the head coach of the Iona Gaels, met with officials from St. John’s on Sunday and the two sides are in “serious discussions” to make him the next head coach, according to a report from ESPN’s Pete Thamel and Jeff Borzello on Monday morning.
The Hall of Fame coach and New York native reportedly has been the school’s primary target since it fired Mike Anderson on March 10 after an 18-15 season in the Big East. Pitino was not allowed to speak with the Red Storm until Iona ended its season. The Gaels were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on Friday after a first-round loss to the UConn Huskies, their second trip to the tournament in three seasons under Pitino.
During his illustrious coaching career, the 70-year-old Pitino has appeared in seven Final Fours with three different programs and likely would establish a complete culture shift at St. John’s.
Pitino also has been linked to Georgetown University and Providence College, two other Big East programs. Georgetown, however, is expected to hire longtime Providence coach Ed Cooley as its next head coach, which would create the Friars opening. Pitino previously coached at Providence during the 1985 and 1986 seasons before leaving for Kentucky, where he spent much of the 1990s.