Rick Pitino, the Hall of Famer and newly minted Iona coach, is coming back to Long Island.
Hofstra and Iona have agreed to play three games over the next three seasons, the schools announced on Monday. The first game will be Dec. 23 and the site will be determined on Wednesday with a made-for-the-internet competition between the school’s mascots. It can be seen at 5 p.m. on the Hofstra Pride YouTube page and on the Iona Athletics Facebook page.
Pitino grew up in Long Island and attended St. Dominic High school. He went on to an amazing career on the court where his teams won 770 games and reached seven Final Fours; he coached two national champions: Kentucky in 1996 and Louisville in 2013. But Pitino hasn’t coached in college since he was fired by Louisville in 2017 after a scandal that resulted in the 2013 national title being vacated.
He was coaching professionally in Greece before Iona brought him back to the college ranks last March.
Hofstra won the Colonial athletic Association championship last season but did not get to make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2001 because the event was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The contest between the school mascots will be a best-of-3 game of Rock-Paper-Scissors. The winning school will host the first game.