Rick Pitino said he was “all-in on Iona basketball” just last week, but that hasn’t quelled rampant speculation that there is mutual interest between the legendary coach and multiple potential openings at bigger programs.
Pitino, 70, was installed as the -200 favorite by SportsBetting.ag to succeed Patrick Ewing a day after Georgetown parted ways with the former Hoyas star after six seasons. That is well ahead of the next shortest odds, which belong to Mike Brey (+500), Notre Dame’s all-time winningest coach who stepped away from the team after the Irish’s season ended Tuesday.
Georgetown Next Coach Odds Rick Pitino (-200) Mike Brey (+500) Micah Shrewsberry (+600) Ed Cooley (+800) Kevin Keatts (+800) Kim English (+1400) Mike Boynton (+1400) Rick Pitino Jr. (+1600) Brad Underwood (+1800) Grant McCasland (+2000) Matt Langel (+2000) Mike Jones (+2000) Tubby Smith (+10000) Jay Wright (+50000) Jim Boeheim (+100000)
Pitino won the 1996 NCAA Tournament with Kentucky between NBA stints with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. He returned to the college ranks at Louisville in 2001 and won another title in 2013 that was later vacated by the NCAA.
After coaching in Greece for four years, Pitino returned to the United States to take over the Iona program in 2020.
Despite rebuffing overtures to leave Iona the past few years, CBS Sports and ESPN reported that Georgetown was expected to talk to Pitino about its opening. St. John’s is also expected to be interested in Pitino of the program parts with Mike Anderson.
“Magnify it by 10, and that’s what it was like when I was at Kentucky,” Pitino said of the rumors, per USA Today. “At that time, I was blessed to be offered by every pro job. One year, I was offered seven different NBA jobs, that’s when it was distracting. … Here, it’s only internet noise and I don’t go on that.”
The noise will only heighten as Iona (25-7) chases another NCAA Tournament spot as the top seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Pitino, who has a $5 million buyout clause, entered Friday with a 62-21 record in three seasons with the Gaels.
Pitino has a buyout of $5 million and could be coaching in the NCAA Tournament.
Georgetown’s season came to an end with an 80-48 loss to Villanova on Wednesday, and Ewing’s tenure came to an end with a 75-109 overall record.
While Pitino would be charged with laying the foundation of rebuilding the Hoyas program, Brey is another interesting potential candidate. He’s leaving Notre Dame after 23 years, but the Bethesda, Md., native has said he plans to continue coaching. Brey also played his college ball at George Washington.
Shrewsberry has posted a 34-29 record in two seasons at Penn State, and is considered a rising coach in the college basketball ranks.
Cooley has a 334-221 career record and is revered with his hometown program at Providence, which he led to five consecutive NCAA Tournaments. He has continued to replenish the Friars roster, including replacing all five starters this year for a team battling for another NCAA bid.
If the Hoyas decide to gamble on a younger coach, George Mason’s English is being offered at +1400. The 34-year-old played for Missouri from 2008-12 and the Patriots finished 20-13 in the Atlantic 10 in English’s second season.
However, until Pitino says he’s staying at Iona or leaving for a different program, he will likely remain the favorite to land at Georgetown.
After saying two years ago that the Gaels would be his final coaching stop, Pitino has since left the door open for at least one more move.
“Other people may pay attention to it, but the staff, myself, and the players pay no attention to it,” Pitino said last week. “The internet is not going to hire a coach. Never has and never will. For me, it’s all-in on Iona basketball, let’s get this next game.
“We’re putting in 12-13 hour days right now, and to think about anything other than winning would be an injustice.”
–Field Level Media
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