Rick Pitino timeline: How Iona coach bounced back from Louisville scandals as move to St. John’s looms


Iona coach Rick Pitino is reportedly considering a potential offer from St. John’s in the wake of the Gaels’ first-round exit in the NCAA tournament.

Pitino, who has coached the Gaels over the last three seasons, has helped maintain the program as one of the powers of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, winning the MAAC’s regular-season in each of the last two seasons and its conference tournament two of the last three years. He has twice taken the team to the NCAA Tournament, bookending a 2022 visit to the NIT.

Yet multiple reports — the latest from John Rothstein of CBS Sports — indicate Pitino will meet with administrators at St. John’s to discuss the school’s opening. St. John’s fired Mike Anderson earlier this month.

The move would allow Pitino to return to a more traditional basketball power in the Red Storm, which competes out of the Big East. It would also allow him to remain in New York, moving an hour south to New York City out of New Rochelle, N.Y. Pitino has coached in the Empire State on several occasions, including Syracuse from 1976-78, the New York Knicks from 1983-85 and 1987-89 and, for now, Iona.

MORE: What’s next for Rick Pitino? Iona coach linked to St. John’s job during March Madness run

Pitino’s current status as coach of the Gaels, of course, is due to the fact he left Louisville in 2017 following the Cardinals’ involvement in the men’s college basketball corruption scandal that rocked the entire sport. Louisville was also implicated in an on-campus escort scandal that effectively ended Pitino’s career at Louisville.

His reputation as one of the premier basketball coaches in the United States allowed him to quickly land on his feet, however, even following his exit from Louisville. With that, The Sporting News looks at Pitino’s coaching timeline following his exit from Louisville:

Rick Pitino coaching timeline

Panathinaikos (2018-2020)

It didn’t take Pitino long to land at his next coaching gig following his Louisville exit. The next year, he took over at Greek club Panathinaikos, which competes in EuroLeague, Greek Basket League and the Greek Cup.

In his first season, Pitino led Panathinaikos to the 2018-19 Greek Cup championship and sixth-place finish in EuroLeague, overcoming a 6-8 start in the latter to make the playoffs. They fell to defending champion Real Madrid, failing to make the 2019 EuroLeague Final Four. Pitino ended the season on a strong note, sweeping Promitheas Patras 3-0 in the Greek Basket League’s Finals.

Season Greek Cup record (finish) Greek Basket League (finish) EuroLeague (finish)
2018-19 3-0 (champion) 24-2 (champion) 16-14 (last eight)
2019-20 0-1 (last eight) 18-2 (champion) 14-14 (season canceled)

MORE: Rick Pitino says Louisville has been ‘wronged’ in scandal, denies flipping off fans

Iona (2020-present)

Pitino was named as Iona’s coach on March 14, 2020. It was his 11th coaching job, and seventh in college basketball. He led the Gaels to a 12-6 season in the COVID-19-affected season, improving the team’s record from 12-17 the year prior. He led the team to a championship in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, securing the MAAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

The Gaels went 25-8 the following season, but suffered an upset loss to 9-seed Rider University in the quarterfinals of the 2022 MAAC Tournament, relegating Iona to the NIT. Pitino and Co. lost to Florida in the first round.

Pitino’s latest season in New Rochelle, N.Y. was arguably his best: The Gaels went 27-8 and 17-3 in MAAC play, ending the season as both the regular-season and conference champions in the MAAC. The Gaels earned a 13 seed in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, but lost in the first round to UConn.

Season Record (MAAC) Postseason
2020-21 12-6 (6-3) First-round loss 2021 NCAA Tournament
2021-22 25-8 (17-3) First-round loss 2022 NIT Tournament
2022-23 27-8 (17-3) First-round loss 2023 NCAA Tournament