Rick Pitino isn’t letting his dream of returning to coaching in the United State die. Now, he’s being discussed for the opening at Iona, per a new report.
Cluess took over the Gaels program in 2010. He quickly turned the program around, making the New Rochelle, New York-based program a power in the MAAC. In his first eight years, the team won 20+ games seven times, and reached the NCAA Tournament six times. The Gaels had a streak of four straight March Madness berths from 2016-19.
This season was his worst in New Rochelle. The Gaels went just 11-16, with a 9-11 record in MAAC play. This afternoon, he announced his resignation due to health reasons. He is taking on a new advisory role with the school.
With a pretty attractive mid-major job in the New York City area open, Rick Pitino is apparently in discussions for the job. According to Adam Zagoria, Pitino and Bryant head coach Jared Grasso are two names to watch. Grasso has significant familiarity with Iona, having served on Cluess’ staff from 2010-18. Pitino, meanwhile, is probably the most accomplished coach on the market, but would bring significant attention—and NCAA scrutiny—if any school actually brings him in.
Two candidates in the mix are Rick Pitino And Jared Grasso, per sources https://t.co/DsurFrARFK
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) March 13, 2020
Pitino has been out of college coaching since 2017. He was fired amid the FBI’s probe into college basketball, after being implicated in a scheme involving apparel giant adidas and bribes being paid to recruits. While he is a national championship-caliber coach, he also had his share of scandals while with the Cardinals.
He has coached the Greek pro team Panathinaikos since 2018, and is set to coach the Greek National Team. He has made it very clear that he wants to coach in college or the NBA back stateside.
Whether Iona is the school to make that happen is very up in the air, but if the Gaels want to make a huge splash, this would certainly do it.