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Iona hires new head coach after Rick Pitino departure

Rick Pitino at a press conference

Mar 16, 2023; Albany, NY, USA; Iona Gaels head coach Rick Pitino speaks during a press conference at MVP Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Pitino on Monday agreed to become the new head coach at St. John’s, and Iona wasted no time finding a replacement.

Fairleigh Dickinson head coach Tobin Anderson has agreed to a five-year deal to become the head coach at Iona, ESPN’s Pete Thamel reports.

Anderson just finished his first season at Fairleigh Dickinson after spending the previous nine as the head coach at St. Thomas Aquinas. The 51-year-old led FDU to a massive upset win over No. 1 Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Knights were just the second 16-seed in history to beat a 1-seed.

FDU blew out Texas Southern in the First Four before taking down Purdue. They then lost a tough 78-70 game to No. 9 Florida Atlantic in the second round of the tournament on Sunday.

The improbable win over Purdue turned Anderson into a household name. He delivered a great quote in his postgame press conference and also showed tremendous foresight with some comments he made leading up to the NCAA Tournament.

Iona has reached the NCAA Tournament in eight of the last 12 years. They lost to UConn in the first round last week.

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