Legendary college basketball coach Rick Pitino has coached Iona for three seasons.
A fourth is up in the air.
Head coach Rick Pitino of the Iona Gaels looks on during the first half against the Connecticut Huskies during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament held at MVP Arena on March 17, 2023, in Albany, New York. (C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Following Iona’s 87-63 loss to the UConn Huskies on Friday, Pitino was asked whether the first-round loss was his last as head coach of the Gaels.
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“I really don’t have an answer to it, to be honest with you,” Pitino said. “I have no idea if it is or isn’t, because I’ve focused everything on this game, trying to develop a plan to beat Connecticut.”
Pitino has been rumored to be the preferred candidate for the head coaching position at St. John’s, a school just 20 miles away from Iona.
Head coach Rick Pitino of the Iona Gaels reacts in the second half against the Connecticut Huskies during the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 17, 2023, in Albany, New York. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
“I really haven’t put any thought into it at all,” Pitino said when asked whether he had a timeline for making a decision on his future. “I hear the question from you, and I think when you start thinking ahead, you always fail.
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“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. Somebody sent me a clip.”
St. John’s fired head coach Mike Anderson last week after four seasons and failing to get the Red Storm to the NCAA Tournament.
“After fully evaluating the men’s basketball program, our University has decided a change is needed in both the leadership and direction of St. John’s Basketball,” athletic director Mike Cragg said in a statement, according to ESPN. “We wish Coach Mike Anderson and his family the best in their future.”
Head coach Rick Pitino of the Iona Gaels looks on in the first half against the Connecticut Huskies during the first round of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at MVP Arena on March 17, 2023, in Albany, New York. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Pitino’s Gaels went 27-8 before falling to UConn in the tournament and put together a great first-half effort against the Huskies.
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Iona took a 39-37 lead into halftime before being outscored by 26 in the second half.
“I thought we had a legitimate chance of beating them going into the game, but we came out in the second half, and they just dominated us,” Pitino said. “So they deserve all the congratulations.”
Joe Morgan is a Sports Reporter for Fox News.