Rick Pitino has been named the new coach at St. John’s University. The school announced Pitino’s hiring but did not disclose terms; however sources told ESPN that Pitino, who led Iona to the NCAA tournament this season, agreed to a six-year contract. Pitino will be introduced at a news conference Tuesday at Madison Square Garden. Pitino is a Hall of Fame coach who has been to seven Final Fours.
Pitino informed his Iona Gaels team in a meeting Monday afternoon that he was leaving the squad that he led to two NCAA tournament appearances in his three seasons on the job. In a series of tweets on Monday, he thanked the Iona administration and his players, saying: “… I’m not sad it ended. I’m so grateful it happened. To my players, the last three years. All I can say is you know how much I love you.”
Pitino is the only coach to lead three programs to the Final Four (Providence, Kentucky and Louisville), and won national titles with Kentucky and Louisville. St. John’s had been courting the 70-year-old Pitino since the recent firing of coach Mike Anderson, and is sad to have landed him with what’s being described as a ‘lucrative financial package.’ While meeting with St. John’s officials over the weekend Pitino laid out his vision for the program and engaged with the officials about the school’s commitment, as sources said he would be taking the job with the intention of competing for Big East championships and the national title. The two sides talked about what’s needed for the program going forward.
Pitino will be St. John’s most decorated coach since Lou Carnesecca stepped down in 1992. St. John’s has been to two Final Fours in its history and reached just three NCAA tournaments since 2002. Pitino has not only won two national titles but has coached in 23 NCAA tournaments.
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