Rick Pitino is still desperate to get back into college basketball coaching, even at the lower levels of the sport.
According to Pitino business associate Roddy Valente, Pitino would be interested in discussing the coaching vacancy at Siena.
“He basically said given the opportunity, he would love to sit down and explore coaching at Siena,” Valente said Sunday, via Mark Singelais of the Albany Times-Union. “He loves to coach. He said Siena would be a good fit. He loves the area. He’s turned down two jobs because of where they were located. He loves the Capital Region.”
The Siena job is available after Jimmy Patsos resigned amid allegations that he physically and mentally abused players.
Normally, a name like Pitino being interested in Siena would be a no-brainer worth pursuing. Of course, the Saints would have to decide if they want to deal with Pitino’s potentially major issues. He has maintained his innocence, but it remains to be seen if Siena pursues this.
A couple of familiar names are in contention to become the next head coach of Siena’s men’s basketball team.
Siena announced on Friday that Jimmy Patsos has resigned as the program’s head coach after five seasons on the job. His resignation comes after Patsos was under investigation for allegedly verbally abusing the team’s manager.
With Patsos out, Siena is looking for a replacement, and ESPN’s Jeff Goodman says Patrick Beilein is the frontrunner for the job. Beilein is the son of Michigan coach John Beilein and starred for his father at West Virginia as a player. He has been coaching at Le Moyne College and was named the conference’s coach of the year in consecutive seasons.
Goodman also reports that former Syracuse guard Gerry McNamara is in contention for the job as well. McNamara has been on Syracuse’s coaching staff since 2009.
Siena is located in Loudonville, NY and plays in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Getting the job would represent a step up for Beilein, who is currently coaching in Division II, and for McNamara, would get a head coaching opportunity.
Rider head coach Kevin Baggett says his decision to pull his players off the floor before shaking the hands of the Siena players and coaches Tuesday night had nothing to do with sportsmanship.
After a scuffle broke out near the end of the game, Baggett felt going through the handshake line might lead to another incident.
“I decided to not shake hands, because I didn’t want anything to escalate again between the teams,” Baggett told Jeff Goodman ESPN. “That’s my prerogative — to protect my team whether anyone else thinks it’s good sportsmanship or not.
“I knew what I was going to do at the end of the game. I didn’t want another altercation.”
Following what Baggett felt was a missed call when Siena’s Khalil Richard hit Rider point guard Stevie Jordan near the neck, Siena’s Marquis Wright and Rider’s Anthony Durham exchanged punches and were ejected. Richard, Jordan and both coaches were also assessed technical fouls, so Baggett was leery of the tension in the air.
Siena coach Jimmy Patsos said he believed Baggett had a “pretty good reason” for skipping handshakes and said he respects the decision, though Patsos still pretended to shake hands anyway.
This is the second time this season we have seen a coach pull his players off the floor before handshakes, although the first incident was for a different reason. If Baggett truly thought there was a risk of a confrontation, you can’t blame him.