Lou Carnesecca wants Rick Pitino to be St. John’s next coach


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ALBANY — Rick Pitino has Lou Carnesecca’s endorsement to become the next St. John’s coach.

As St. John’s tries to hire the Hall of Fame coach, the 98-year-old Carnesecca told Fox 5 that the school should make the move to bring in Pitino.

“For what is worth to me right now, I think Rick Pitino [should be hired], I really believe that,” Carnesecca said. “As the coach, the basketball coach, I don’t think we [can] get a better coach. I mean, I don’t know any better at this time. You look around, who [are] you gonna get, right? I can’t bring back Naismith.”

St. John’s has made the 70-year-old Pitino the lone focus of its coaching search since parting ways with Mike Anderson on March 10.

The two sides met early Sunday night on campus, according to a source, and the job was offered to Pitino. A source close to Pitino expects him to make a decision in the coming days.

Rick Pitino
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Carnesecca, the winningest coach in St. John’s history with a 526-200 record across 24 seasons, is hoping he picks the Johnnies.

The 70-year-old Pitino has led Iona University to two MAAC regular-season crowns and two MAAC Tournament titles in the last three years.

Iona lost on Friday to Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, ending its 27-win season.

A major factor in St. John’s pursuit is university president Rev. Brian Shanley, who nearly hired Pitino at Providence 12 years ago and has been “relentless” in his pursuit of the legendary coach, a source said.

Pitino had expressed a desire to meet directly with those in charge and tour the campus and facilities before agreeing to any deal.

Former St. John’s coach Lou Carnesecca watching a fame in 2020.
Paul J. Bereswill

“You don’t buy houses without looking at the garage and the upstairs and the kitchen and everything,” he said on Friday. “You don’t just buy a house.”

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