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#pounditFriday, September 18, 2020

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino praises Knicks’ ‘great’ coaching hires

Rick Pitino

Count Rick Pitino among those who are very happy with the direction of the New York Knicks.

Pitino went out of his way on Twitter Saturday to praise the Knicks’ recent coaching moves. He not only gave plaudits to the hiring of Tom Thibodeau, but he also was pleased with the addition of Kenny Payne as an assistant.

If the Knicks turn it around quickly, it appears that you heard it from Pitino first.

Pitino, now the head coach at Iona, is a New Yorker, and he coached the Knicks for two seasons. He wants to see them do well. If they’d taken his advice three years ago, they’d probably be in a lot better shape, but better late than never.

Iona standing by Rick Pitino after Louisville notice of allegations

Rick Pitino

Louisville’s latest round of potential NCAA violations has Rick Pitino under the microscope again.

On Monday, Louisville received a notice of allegations from the NCAA accusing the school of breaking rules relating to the recruitment of Brian Bowen. The letter charges Pitino directly with a Level II violation for failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance at the school.

Pitino was recently hired by Iona, and the school released a statement backing its new basketball coach.

Bowen’s recruitment led to the end of Pitino’s Louisville tenure. The coach was fired after a federal investigation alleged that an Adidas executive paid Bowen $100,000 to commit to Louisville. Pitino maintained innocence, and continues to do so.

Iona knew what it was signing up for by hiring Pitino. Don’t expect them to cut ties over this or anything else that may have happened at his previous college job.

Rick Pitino wants his Iona team to face Kentucky

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino has big plans for his Iona basketball team.

The new head coach of the Gaels is ready and willing to face off against Kentucky in a true road game provided the Wildcats return the favor and face Iona at Madison Square Garden as part of a home-and-home.

Pitino has a long history with Kentucky. He spent eight years as coach there and won a national title, then spent time at rival Louisville. Beyond that, he’s clearly eager to challenge the best, even before coaching a game in his new job. That’s why he’s making bets with his son, too.

Rick Pitino, son Richard make interesting bet on WrestleMania match

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino is officially back to coaching college basketball, and he is already angling for a way to coach against his son. Apparently we may see that happen as soon as next season, and the big WrestleMania match on Sunday night could determine where the game is played.

The Pitino family is apparently filled with big wrestling fans, and Rick proposed a friendly bet to Richard on Saturday. The new Iona coach bet his son, who coaches Minnesota, that that the Gophers will have to play at Iona next season is Brock Lesnar beats Drew McIntyre. Richard Pitino responded that he doesn’t want to root against Minnesota, who is a Gophers alum, so the terms of the bet were reversed. If Lesnar wins, Iona will play at Minnesota next season — or so the two Pitinos say.

The younger Pitino joked on Sunday that he made the bet with his dad because there’s “nothing else to do.”

Rick Pitino also shared a photo of his grandkids on Saturday showing that they were ready for WrestleMania 36.

Rick was named the head coach of Iona last month, while Richard has been coaching at Minnesota since 2013. WrestleMania was pre-recorded due to the coronavirus pandemic and split into a two-night event, and the first night already featured some entertaining moments. The Pitino family will have even more to watch for on Sunday.

Rick Pitino issues statement after becoming Iona coach

Rick Pitino is heading back to college basketball, and he sounds thrilled.

The veteran coach reached an agreement with Iona to become the new basketball coach. He issued a statement after the news was confirmed, suggesting that he plans for this to be his final coaching stop.

A deal between Pitino and Iona came together quickly on Saturday, and Pitino gets his return to college after being fired over the Louisville recruiting scandal in 2017. He had claimed he didn’t want to come back to the college ranks, but this makes it pretty clear it was his dream all along.

Report: Rick Pitino in talks about Iona head coach job

Rick Pitino

Over two years after leaving college basketball, Rick Pitino may be on his way back.

According to Matt Norlander of CBS Sports, Pitino has informed his Panathinaikos players that he is returning to college basketball, and has already left Greece.

Furthermore, Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported that Pitino has begun negotiations with Iona for the school’s head coach job.

Pitino had been linked to the Iona job once it came open. While it’s mid-major basketball, it is in the New York area that Pitino knows well.

The former Louisville coach, who lost his job due to a recruiting scandal, has been coaching in Greece since 2018. He had claimed that he wouldn’t return to college basketball, but that was always likely to change if the right offer came his way. Perhaps this is that offer.

Rick Pitino wants to land NBA role, will not return to Greece next season

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino recently said he was planning to return to Greece to coach Panathinaikos next season if his children were on board with it, and the Hall of Fame coach has decided not to go that route.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Pitino has turned down an offer to return as president and head coach of Panathinaikos, as he is hoping to earn a full-time role with an NBA team. He said he is open to coaching or working in a player personnel or advisory role.

Panathinaikos was 7-0 when Pitino was named head coach, and he led the team to a perfect 15-0 record and a Greek Cup title. The 66-year-old said earlier this month that he is prepared to give up college basketball forever if he returns to Greece to coach next season and that he would make a decision after speaking with his kids. He previously insisted he was not interested in leaving Europe for a college job, and that still appears to be the case.

Pitino is one of the best college coaches of all time. He has won two national championships — one in 1996 and Kentucky and another in 2013 with Louisville, which was vacated. He was fired by Louisville in Oct. 2017 after being involved in a scandal involving the payment to a recruit who ended up at the school. He previously got into trouble with the NCAA and had a championship and Final Four appearance vacated over a sex scandal.

Pitino, 66, had two separate coaching stints in the NBA. He coached the Knicks for two seasons from 1987-1989 and then coached the Celtics from 1997-2001 before resigning in the middle of his fourth season. It’s unclear if there will be any interest in him from NBA teams, though he was linked to one head coaching vacancy last month.

Rick Pitino prepared to give up college basketball ‘forever’ to stay in Greece

Rick Pitino is ready for another year in Greece if his children are on board, even if it means the end of his college basketball career.

Pitino said he will travel to New York this week to speak with his kids and if they agree, he will sign on for another season with Greek club Panathinaikos. He warned, however, that it would mean the end of his college coaching career.

“You have to understand is that if I come back, I give up college basketball forever,” Pitino told Kostas Katevas of Cosmote TV, via EuroHoops. “It could never happen because I couldn’t leave Panathinaikos for a college in March or April. If I come back, it’s Panathinaikos and then death.”

Pitino has previously claimed he won’t leave Europe for a college job. It’s obvious that he still has the itch to coach in college if the timing is right despite that comment. The reality is that college basketball has likely moved on from him after the Louisville scandal. He won both the league and the Greek Cup this season, and Panathinaikos seems like a pretty good gig for him — perhaps the best he’ll get at this stage of his career.

Report: Rick Pitino, Cavaliers have mutual interest

Rick Pitino

Is Rick Pitino eyeing a job in the NBA now that many of the college basketball coaching vacancies have been filled? That could be the case.

Veteran NBA reporter Peter Vecsey reported on his Patreon page Saturday night that Pitino and the Cleveland Cavaliers have spoken. He says there is mutual interest between owner Dan Gilbert and Pitino, though it’s unclear for what kind of position. You can read the full report at Vecsey’s Patreon.

Pitino, 66, has been coaching in Greece since December. He led Panathinaikos to a Greek Cup victory and is coaching them in the EuroLeague playoffs.

Pitino was fired by Louisville in Oct. 2017 after being involved in a scandal involving the payment to a recruit who ended up at the school. He previously got into trouble with the NCAA and has a championship and Final Four appearance vacated over a sex scandal.

One of the best college coaches ever, Pitino has won two national championships — one in 1996 and Kentucky and another in 2013 with Louisville, which was vacated. He had two separate coaching stints in the NBA. He coached the Knicks for two seasons from 1987-1989. He coached the Celtics from 1997-2001 before resigning in the middle of his fourth season.

After being tied to some coaching vacancies, Pitino said earlier this month that he was not interested in leaving Europe for a college job. In October, he did express interest in returning to the NBA.

The Cavaliers are looking for a new head coach after parting ways with Larry Drew, who replaced Ty Lue, who was fired after an 0-6 start to the season.

Rick Pitino claims he is not interested in leaving Europe for college job

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino’s name has been linked to virtually every prominent college basketball opening this offseason, but he’d have you believe he’s not interested in any of them.

Pitino’s Panathinaikos team is about to start the playoffs in Greece, and he said that takes priority right now — and no job or amount of money could change his mind.

“I’m enjoying being a pro coach. So far, we’ve had Las Vegas, we’ve had UCLA, we’ve had… It’s very difficult for me to be a college coach,” Pitino said, via EuroHoops. “All you have to do is look at the calendar timing-wise. I would have to leave to be a college coach and these guys are way too important to me, for me to leave at any point.

“There’s no amount of money, there’s no job, there’s nothing that would make me leave this team right now as we start the playoffs. So, if I was anybody in your shoes or elsewhere, I would not pay attention to any rumors because this basketball team is way too important to me to leave them at this time.”

It’s in the eye of the reader whether they find this believable or not. For what it’s worth, though, he has spoken about his preference to coach professionally, which is what he’s doing now.