Rick Pitino reiterated Tuesday that he has no plans to lead a sixth school to the NCAA Tournament.
After guiding Iona to the MAAC Tournament title in his first season with the Gaels, Pitino became the third coach ever to take five different programs to the Big Dance. And despite speculation the Hall of Fame coach could be considered for the recently vacated position at Indiana, the 68-year-old Pitino remained firm in his commitment to Iona, which allowed him to return to college basketball after multiple scandals cost him his job at Louisville and left him coaching in exile in Greece for two seasons.
“I owe [Iona] everything, their loyalty. And I’m not going anywhere,” Pitino said. “If I go anywhere it’s gonna be retirement and I’m not looking forward to retiring anytime soon. I’m looking forward to building a special program at Iona.”
Pitino has made the same vow several times since taking the job last March, but his history of job-hopping and holding high-profile positions left some doubting whether the New York native would remain at a mid-major, if given a bigger opportunity — such as Indiana.
“I think IU is one of the best jobs in all of coaching. I’ve got great respect for their program … [but] I’m not a candidate for Indiana or any job,” Pitino said. “You could come to me with the greatest job on earth and I would not consider it. I came home to coach and end my career at a small, Catholic school. Providence College was very dear to my heart for those two years I was there. One of my big regrets is I didn’t get a chance to spend enough time there.”