Iona coach Rick Pitino met with officials from St. John’s on Sunday, and the two sides are in serious talks to make Pitino the next coach of the school’s men’s basketball team, per ESPN’s Pete Thamel and Jeff Borzello.
During the conversation, Pitino explained his potential vision for the Red Storm and inquired about the school’s commitment to his lofty expectations. Pitino reportedly is only interested in taking the job if he believes the program can compete for Big East championships and the national title. The meeting was productive, according to ESPN.
Pitino reportedly has been the school’s primary target since it fired coach Mike Anderson on March 10. St. John’s, which finished the season 18–15, was not allowed to speak with Pitino formally until the Gaels lost in the NCAA tournament. Iona was eliminated by UConn on Friday in the first round of the tournament after a 27–8 campaign.
After the loss, Pitino was noncommittal in regard to whether he had coached his last game for Iona.
“I really don’t have an answer to it. … I have no idea if it is or isn’t,” Pitino said during his postgame press conference, per Sports Illustrated’s Kevin Sweeney. “I focused everything on this game, trying to beat Connecticut.”
Pitino, 70, is a legendary figure in college basketball, having appeared in seven Final Fours with three different programs, and could be a culture changer for a program that has only appeared in the Final Four twice in its entire history.