Rick Pitino Delivers Vintage Fist Pump During Conference Championship As Rumors Swirl Around Head Coaching Future

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Rick Pitino is back like he never left. The 70-year-old head coach, currently in his third season at Iona, will make his 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance next week after winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament on Saturday.

His return to March Madness marks his second trip to The Big Dance in his three years with the Gaels. They missed out on the Field of 64 (really 68) last season after losing to Alabama as the No. 15-seed in 2021.

This year is different. Pitino isn’t getting any younger and if he is to return to the high major level, the move is coming sooner than later.

In fact, it’s not longer a matter of “if,” but “when.”

Rick Pitino’s high major return is imminent.

Pitino, a two-time national champion, was fired for cause by Louisville in 2017 after being implicated in a federal investigation that involved bribes to recruits, among other things. Nobody wanted to touch him in the aftermath, so he headed overseas and coached three seasons in Greece.

After paying his dues, Iona took a chance on Pitino in 2020. He has won 65 of 86 games (75.6%) in New Rochelle and 40 of 49 in the MAAC.

It’s no secret that Pitino knows how to win, and he has proved, yet again, that he can overhaul a program almost overnight. But at his age, he likely has just a few years left coachingβ€” so if a bigger school is to hire him, now is the time to do so.

Pitino was in vintage form during Iona’s win over Marist on Saturday, and his legendary first pump returned. It was just like the old days.

The Gaels are currently projected to make March Madness as a No. 13 seed. Whether they make a Cinderella run or not, this will probably be Pitino’s last month coaching his current team.

St. John’s recently fired its head coach and has Pitino atop its list of candidates. There is mutual interest between the two parties.

Texas Tech, following Mark Adam’s resignation, is seeking a new coach. Pitino is wanted, at least to some extent, in Lubbock.

Georgetown needs to replace Patrick Ewing. Though it seems like the Hoyas are going in a different direction, Pitino would presumably run to get back in the Big East.

Wherever Pitino ends up, he is a winner. It’s just a matter of where he is going to win.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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