Tuesday’s season-opening game for St. John’s featured the return of legendary head coach Rick Pitino to the Big East Conference. And it went about as well as he and St. John’s fans could have hoped for.
Pitino is obviously no stranger to coaching a Big East team. He famously coached the Louisville Cardinals during their time in the Big East from 2005-2012. They even took home the National Championship under Pitino in their final year in the conference.
It’s been over ten years since Pitino has coached for a Big East team. And St. John’s performance admirably in his return, defeated Stony Brook 90-74 to secure their first win of the season.
Welcome to the Pitino Era.
That's ☝️ pic.twitter.com/tIppNxgPSt
— St. John's Men’s Basketball (@StJohnsBBall) November 8, 2023
Senior big man Joel Soriano led all scorers in the game with 22 points to go along with 11 rebounds on the night.
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) November 8, 2023
It was a treat for college basketball fans to see Pitino back on the sidelines for a Big East school where he belongs. And fans were certainly happy that St. John’s was able to come away with the victory.
It’s awesome that Rick Pitino is back coaching in the Big East 🙌
— Ben Sigwart (@sig_50) November 8, 2023
The Rick Pitino era in St. John’s starts tonight!!! Big East Basketball is back!
— John WIC (@iight_so_boom) November 7, 2023
Rick Pitino in the Big East is maybe my fave place for him lol https://t.co/QpLn1FxBFC
— NLP (@noralisapizza) November 8, 2023
Rick Pitino coaches a Big East Basketball game today 🙂
— Bryan Oatridge (@Bryan_Oatridge) November 7, 2023
Pitino may have been away from the spotlight in recent years at Iona. But he has certainly still been coaching excellently, turning Iona into one of the most impressive mid-major programs in all of college basketball in his time with the team.
Only time will tell whether Pitino can have a similar effect at St. John’s and restore them back to prominence in the Big East. But at the very least, it will be fun to watch him back in the spotlight at St. John’s this season.