Rick Pitino’s Landing Spots: Ranking Best Potential St. John’s, Georgetown Matches Among Chasing Teams

As the coaching carousel spins and attractive conference jobs open up, Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino’s name comes up with increasing frequency as scuttlebuts become more and more loudest about him considering moving from Iona – where he has been since 2020 – back to the big basketball leagues.

Pitino, 70 years old, told CBS Sports Matt Norlander in an exclusive interview recently that he wants to train “five or six more years”, which would be more than enough time for him to find a new gig in his twilight years, work his magic and knock off a schedule. And with his name officially cleared from the FBI investigation that led to an acrimonious exit from Louisville, he looks like a very hot candidate entering the offseason.

What program wouldn’t want to reboot around a Hall of Fame coach who has won two national titles and led a record three programs to the Final Four?

Despite Pitino’s scandals – there are several! – the references of his keen sense of training are not in question. Even as one of the oldest coaches at Division I level, it’s clear he still has his fastball – he’s won MAAC the past two seasons and won the league coaching title. MAAC year both seasons – so if he does indeed plan to leave Iona, there will be no shortage of suitors for his services.

So what are his options? Where could he go? And what, realistically, would suit him best at this stage of his career?

It is clear that Pitino will be picky. He loves Winged Foot, close to home, and he even admitted to Norlander that his living situation will be a factor. So with that in mind, here are his current options and the best solutions for him right now.

St. John’s sacked head coach Mike Anderson on Friday after four seasons in charge of the Red Storm, and Pitino has already become the program’s “main target” to succeed him, reports Norlander. St. John’s has a proud history with deep roots in the Great East, but it hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game in over two decades and is in desperate need of a revival. It would be a complete rebuild for Pitino, which would theoretically require a tantalizing offer — wads and wads of cash — to get him to ditch Iona for St. John’s and other possible suitors. But if familiarity is important, St. John’s should be in the mix, given that he basically couldn’t have to uproot his life – and could live where he lives now – by taking this job.

Another program with a storied history in the Great East, Georgetown — like St. John’s — finds itself reeling from a failed six-year experiment with Patrick Ewing as the program’s coach. Ewing was canned Thursday after a 7-25 season — its second straight season of seven or fewer wins and its third losing season in four years — complicating the appeal of this once-proud program. The Hoyas probably have enough resources to run after him, and yet he could become forever revered among the Georgetown faithful if he were to revive the program. Pitino

In February, Pitino told Norlander that there are “20 or 30 states I don’t want to live in” and stressed that where he lives now is important to him, unlike before. So it’s hard to imagine he would pack his bags and leave the comfort of New Rochelle, New York, about a 10-minute drive from Winged Foot, to coach a mid-road Big 12 team in Lubbock, Texas. That said, Tech has invested heavily in its program in recent years thanks to the turnaround it’s had under Chris Beard and briefly under Mark Adams, who resigned on Wednesday. It’s hard work, though, and bumping heads against the likes of Bill Self, Scott Drew, Jerome Tang and Bob Huggins where he’d likely be short-handed, under-resourced and an inferior Big 12 team. in his own state, that seems like the least likely option for him.

Could Providence be a longshot?

Providence coach Ed Cooley feels like a Brethren lifer, but his name has come up as a possible candidate for Georgetown. So if that were to happen, which seems like a long shot but not an impossibility, it would open up Providence – where Pitino coached in the 1980s – and offer him a chance to enter the Big East in a program that is much more stable right now than St. John’s and Georgetown (by a very, very wide margin). There’s no indication that Cooley is willing/interested in leaving, but if he did, it looks like the brothers and Pitino would at least give each other a wink and a thumbs up to gauge mutual interest, no. is this not?

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