St. John’s fired head coach Mike Anderson on Friday, and sources told ESPN that the Red Storm are expected to make Iona‘s Rick Pitino their top target.
Anderson failed to reach the NCAA tournament in any of his four seasons at St. John’s, with the Red Storm going 68-56 under his watch. They finished their season on Thursday, losing to Marquette in the Big East tournament quarterfinals. The loss dropped them to 18-15 overall and 7-13 in Big East play.
“After fully evaluating the men’s basketball program, our University has decided a change is needed in both the leadership and direction of St. John’s Basketball,” athletic director Mike Cragg said in a statement. “We wish Coach Mike Anderson and his family the best in their future.”
The Red Storm hired Anderson in 2019, weeks after Arkansas parted ways with him. He reached the NCAA tournament three times in his final five seasons with the Razorbacks, but failed to replicate that success in the Big East.
St. John’s is expected to turn to Pitino as its top candidate to replace Anderson, sources told ESPN. A New York native, the Hall of Fame head coach has won two regular-season championships and one conference tournament in his three seasons with the Gaels.
Pitino, 70, is considered arguably the best college basketball coach of his generation, and he would be the type of big name needed to ignite a St. John’s fanbase that hasn’t seen an NCAA tournament win since 2000.