As the madness of March grips the college basketball world, another kind of frenzy is underway: the coaching carousel. For struggling programs, this is a time to make bold moves and find the right leader who can turn their fortunes around.
Every year, a handful of highly sought-after coaching prospects generate a lot of buzz.
But this year, one name stands out above the rest – a coach widely regarded as a “sure thing” and a game-changer for any program that can secure his services.
That man is 70-year-old Rick Pitino.
The Long & Winning History of Rick Pitino
When the University of Louisville fired Rick Pitino in 2017 amidst allegations of NCAA violations, it looked like the legendary
coach’s career might be over. But Pitino refused to go quietly into the night. After a brief stint coaching in Greece, he resurfaced in the United States three years ago, taking over as head coach of Iona College in New York which plays in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Pitino wasted no time proving his worth at Iona, leading the Gaels to the NCAA tournament in his first year on the job. He has continued to build on that success, winning 50 games over the past two seasons and guiding Iona to the MAAC semifinals with a 26-7 record this year. Iona is a 13.5-point favorite over Marist tonight in the semis.
If there’s one thing that’s clear about Pitino, it’s that he’s a winner. With a career record of 709-289 (.710), he’s one of the most successful coaches in college basketball history. His only losing season came way back in 1980-81 when he was coaching at Boston University.
For any program looking to turn things around and get back to winning ways, Pitino would be a highly coveted addition to the coaching staff. With his proven track record of success and his ability to develop talented players and build winning teams, he is a coach that can take a program to new heights. And as Iona looks to make another deep run in the NCAA tournament this year, it’s clear that Pitino’s magic touch is as potent as ever.
The Frontrunners For Pitino
Three major programs have emerged as frontrunners for Pitinio’s services, and one of them makes a ton of sense.