Rick Pitino’s return to power conference college basketball in the works

Rick Pitino’s return to power conference college basketball in the works

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO - DECEMBER 18: Head coach Rick Pitino of the Iona Gaels walks onto the court before his team's game against the New Mexico Lobos at The Pit on December 18, 2022 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO – DECEMBER 18: Head coach Rick Pitino of the Iona Gaels walks onto the court before his team’s game against the New Mexico Lobos at The Pit on December 18, 2022 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. (Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images)

St. John’s has fired head basketball coach Mike Anderson and it appears as though the Red Storm already have their eye on Rick Pitino.

Rick Pitino may be on his way back to the Big East. According to college basketball insider Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports, St. John’s has fired head basketball coach Mike Anderson and Pitino is expected to be a primary candidate to be his replacement.

The rumors have been out and about for some time now about Pitino returning to a power conference after spending the past three season as the head coach of the Iona Gaels.

Rick Pitino’s return to power conference college basketball in the works.

Rick Pitino, who rose to fame in the college coaching ranks during his time with the University of Kentucky, has been on the outs for a while after the scandal that arose while he was coaching at the University of Louisville.

Pitino was fired by UofL in 2017 after a pay-to-play scandal involving former recruit Brian Bowen came to light. Pitino, however, was essentially exonerated of any wrongdoing by the NCAA’s Independent Accountability Review Process late last year.

That ruling has taken the once un-hirable Pitino and put him back in play for any number of schools that would love to resurrect their college basketball program by hiring the Hall of Fame coach. It appears as though the St. John’s Red Storm have Pitino at the top of their list.

Sources: St. John’s has parted ways with Mike Anderson.

Iona’s Rick Pitino is expected to be a primary candidate to be his replacement.

The school has spent the last few weeks vetting Pitino’s potential candidacy for the job.

— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 10, 2023

St, John’s basketball seems like the perfect fit for the New York native. Prior to coaching the Kentucky Wildcats, Pitino coached at Boston University (1978-1983) and Providence (1985-1987).

Pitino made a quick stopover in the NBA with the New York Knicks (1987-1989) before coming to UK and helping to put that program back atop college basketball. Pitino led the Wildcats to the 1996 National Championship and almost won the title again in 1997 before jetting off to the NBA to coach the Boston Celtics.

After failing in the NBA once again, Pitino knew it was time to return to the college ranks and landed at Kentucky’s in-state rival as the head coach of the Louisville Cardinals.

Rick Pitino won the John Wooden Coach of the Year Award in 1987, has been to the Final Four seven times and has two National Championships (though one was vacated). This would be a huge get if St. John’s were able to close the deal and bring Pitino back to the Big East Conference.

For more NCAA basketball and March Madness news, analysis, opinion and features, check out more from the FanSided college basketball section to stay on top of the latest action.

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