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Rick Pitino shares 1 big reason why he took St. John’s job

Rick Pitino in a suit

Mar 21, 2023; New York, NY, USA; New St. John s head coach Rick Pitino speaks at his introductory press conference at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Rick Pitino was introduced on Tuesday as the new head basketball coach at St. John’s, and the veteran explained why he chose to coach at the school.

Pitino had coached at Iona the last three seasons, taking the Gaels to the NCAA Tournament twice. The 70-year-old coach was rumored to have received interest from several schools but chose to take the St. John’s position.

What about St. John’s appealed to Pitino? Well, their basketball history and presence in the Big East helped, but Pitino also said its location sealed the deal.

He was asked in an interview with John Fanta why he chose St. John’s.

“First, I didn’t have to move. And that’s the most exciting — I didn’t want to move again. And then secondly, I remember those days when St. John’s was great … I knew what St. John’s was back then. We’re going to build it back up,” Pitino said.

St. John’s is located in Jamaica, Queens, which is fewer than 20 miles from Iona, which is located in New Rochelle. Don’t underestimate the appeal to Pitino for being able to stay in the same city.

Pitino also noted that he needs to turn things around quickly because he doesn’t have a lot of time. Both he and the school know that he probably won’t be at the position especially long since he is already 70. St. John’s also isn’t in as bad of shape as say Georgetown. They’re not winning at the level they’re used to, but they have had five winning seasons. That should make it easier for Pitino to improve.


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