Rick Pitino, pleased at Iona, says he needs to teach 10 extra years

ALBANY, N.Y. — Rick Pitino, Iona’s 70-year-old Hall of Fame coach, sat on the dais in a spot he was tremendously accustomed to — the NCAA match — and mentioned one thing which may shock some individuals.

He want to coach for an additional 10 years.

“Well, I’m physically fit and mentally I think I still have it,” Pitino mentioned Thursday. “But my wife always says, ‘If you want to make God laugh, make a plan.’ I think you just take it one year at a time. Now, my desire would be to coach that long.

“Really, the 2 years I used to be out of teaching was actually probably the most depressing two years of my life as a result of I missed it a lot as a result of I like educating, I like teaching, I like motivating — all the things about it, I missed it terribly.”

Missing it is why Pitino coached in Greece at Panathinaikos before returning to college basketball — and to Iona. Pitino said he would love to coach as many as 12 more years, “however I’ll take six to seven.”

Where those years will be spent, however, is the question.

Pitino, who has been linked to open positions at St. John’s and Georgetown, quipped that “you are not employed by the Internet” when asked about potential coaching opportunities away from Iona.

“My gamers — it isn’t a distraction for them in any respect,” he said. “It’s actually not a distraction. I actually take it as a praise.”

Pitino is 64-21 in three seasons and has two NCAA tournament appearances at Iona — the latest spot where he has had college success after three Final Fours and a national championship at Louisville, two Final Fours and a national title at Kentucky, and a Final Four at Providence.

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Pitino praised what he has at Iona when asked whether he wanted to go to another rebuilding situation at this stage of his career.

“The factor you need to have a look at is my gamers do not depart except they simply cannot play at this stage,” he said. “They got here for participant growth. They did not come for some other cause apart from participant growth.

“And I’m sure Iona is going to have, in the future, NILs like everybody else. But I have a terrific team coming back — [Walter] Clayton [Jr.], Daniss [Jenkins], Nelly [Junior Joseph], Osborn [Shema] — four starters are returning, I have two or three guys coming off the bench.

“So that is actually essential to me as effectively. I have a look at that because the No. 1 think about my life. So to reply your query that might be trustworthy, it should take a particular place for me to contemplate leaving.”

Pitino’s subsequent probability teaching Iona comes Friday when the Thirteenth-seeded Gaels face fourth-seeded UConn within the first spherical of the NCAA match.