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Rick Pitino takes funny shot at John Calipari after taking St. John’s job

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

New St. John’s coach Rick Pitino has one goal in mind as he takes over at his new school.

Pitino spoke to ESPN’s “SportsCenter” on Tuesday after being introduced as the new head coach of the Red Storm. The 70-year-old pointed out that he was one of just two coaches to take three different schools to a Final Four, and that he wants to do it at St. John’s so he no longer has to share that distinction with John Calipari.

“I’ve had the good fortune to take three different schools to the Final Four,” Pitino said. “John Calipari has also taken three different schools. We’re the only two people. I want to take St. John’s to another Final Four so I can get rid of Calipari off my resume.”

Pitino has taken Providence, Kentucky, and Louisville to the Final Four, and he won national titles at the latter two. Calipari accomplished the feat with UMass, Memphis, and Kentucky.

To be clear, Pitino is saying this in jest, though the two coaches have definitely had some dust-ups in the past. The two are unlikely to cross paths anytime soon, so it’s easier to crack jokes like this.

Even if Pitino wants to surpass Calipari, the coach had more serious reasons for pursuing the St. John’s job.


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