Rick Pitino Makes Unprecedented Move By Naming Captain In St. John’s Introduction With Bold Declaration About Roster, Success

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Rick Pitino is back at Madison Square Garden and he has his sights set on success, immediately. The 70-year-old New York-native was introduced as the head basketball coach at St. John’s on Tuesday morning with a promise.

He says that the Red Storm will return to its glory days. Johnnies everywhere are pumped.

Pitino, who previously coached at The Mecca as the head coach of the Knicks in 1983-85, has had quite the career. Here is a quick breakdown of his stops along the way while neglecting NCAA investigations, controversies, and oustings:

  • 1974-76: Assistant at Hawaii
  • 1976: Interim head coach at Hawaii
  • 1976-1978: Assistant at Syracuse
  • 1978-1983: Head coach at Boston University
  • 1983-1985: Assistant with the Knicks
  • 1985-1987: Head coach at Providence
  • 1987-1989: Head coach of the Knicks
  • 1989-1997: Head coach at Kentucky
  • 1997-2001: Head coach of the Celtics
  • 2001-2017: Head coach at Louisville
    • (2015: Head coach of Puerto Rico national team)
  • 2018-2020: Head coach of Panathinaikos in Greece
  • 2020-2023: Head coach at Iona
  • Present: Head coach at St. John’s

He is the only coach to win a national title at two different schools, one of two coaches to take three different schools to the Final Four, and one of four coaches to take five different schools to the NCAA Tournament. He wins.

Rick Pitino has done a little bit of everything, everywhere.

And he doesn’t plan on slowing down.

After signing a six-year contract with St. John’s, Pitino joined his agent Evan Daniels and close friend Steve Masiello, who was a disciple of his coaching tree and most recently serves as the director of operations at Iona. They met at the Essex House in downtown Manhattan for a toast of bubbly.

Steve Masiello, Rick Pitino, and Evan Daniels celebrate the St. John’s hire. (Photo by William Miller, via NY Post)

After a celebratory drink on Monday night, Pitino was formally introduced at MSG on Tuesday.

Pitino was very clear about the job he is about to do in his return to the Big East. Success is coming.

It’s not about when, or if, it’s going to happen for St. John’s and it’s going to happen in a big way.

— Rick Pitino

St. John’s currently plays the majority of its home games at Carnesecca Arena in Jamaica, Queens. It sits just over 6,000.

Pitino doesn’t think that will be big enough for the crowds he is about to draw to the program.

The Red Storm are going to play a brand of basketball that people want to watch.

Rick Pitino believes that St. John’s can win right away.

While discussing the immediate future, Pitino pointed to two specific programs that have used the transfer portal to find top talent and compete right away.

Without a question you can win right away. I think Pittsburgh has shown that right away. I think Missouri has shown that right away. I need guys who can shoot the basketball, not get fatigued, get after it defensively. We’re probably going to have to bring in 6-8 players for this basketball team and that’s going to take a lot of work.

— Rick Pitino

With new players coming in, Pitino understands that there will be a lot of current players on their way out. He is overhauling the roster his way.

Part of the reason that Pitino doesn’t plan to keep the St. John’s roster intact stems from how the team was presented to him in regard to its character. However, with that said, he loved what he heard about Second-Team All-Big East senior Joel Soriano.

I asked about the character of the basketball team. To be honest, I didn’t get glowing reports, but I did get a glowing report on Joel Soriano.

— Rick Pitino

As such, Soriano will be his captain. Pitino announced as much in a rather unprecedented move.

Pitino closed things out with another promise. St. John’s is on the up and up.

St. John’s is one of the legendary names in all of college basketball. Has it fallen on tough times? Yes it has. But now we’re ready to fall on great times. We’re ready to raise it up, raise this roof up, because St. John’s will be back. I guarantee that.

— Rick Pitino

Start the clock. Pitino is coming for another national title and it sounds like he won’t stop until he gets there.

Written by Grayson Weir

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

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