ESPN’s Jay Bilas Has Strong Response To Iona Hiring Rick Pitino
ESPN’s Jay Bilas had a very strong response to Iona hiring Rick Pitino this past week.
In Bilas’ opinion, this is a pretty good move for Gaels. It makes sense on multiple levels and may pay dividends.
“Well, I was a little bit surprised because I wasn’t paying attention to what Iona was going to do after Tim Cluess resigned given all that’s going on in our world right now,” Bilas said on SportsCenter.
“But it does make really good sense for Iona. The only issue, Hannah, is Iona wouldn’t have had a shot at anyone like Rick Pitino absent the reputational damage that’s been suffered here.
“The question is what is the NCAA going to do with Louisville and an infractions case and how is that going to extend to Rick Pitino and perhaps Iona in the future? Will it be some sort of sanction on Pitino? You don’t know that,” Bilas continued.
The hiring of Rick Pitino and the void of no NCAA Tournament. pic.twitter.com/TrNYZKfEXm
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) March 15, 2020
“And so that’s a little bit in the backdrop. But Iona’s going to win at a high level and have an unprecedented level of attention on their basketball program going forward.”
Pitino, for his part, is thrilled with this opportunity.
“Iona brings me back,” he told ESPN.
“Something that [ESPN’s] Dick Vitale said to me last week. He said Jim Valvano said the best years of his life were coaching at Iona. I knew it was the right fit; it’s 30 minutes from my apartment in New York City; it’s 10 minutes from my son in Harrison, New York.”
The 67-year-old former Louisville coach has not been in college basketball since 2017.
Does he still have what it takes to turn a program around? We’ll find out soon enough.