Rick Pitino pushes back on Maryland interest rumors

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Rick Pitino will not be Maryland’s new head coach.

After rumors swirled that Maryland was interested in Pitino to fill his head coaching position, the Iona head coach poured cold water on the speculation.

“The University of Maryland is one of the leading institutions of higher education. Its basketball program may be among the best in the country. I hope they find the next great Gary Williams. I love coaching at Iona and I am totally dedicated to my players. It won’t be me,” Pitino wrote on Twitter.

On Tuesday, Jason Bishop and Eric Bickel of the Sports Junkies reported that Pitino was Maryland’s first choice to replace former head coach Mark Turgeon.

“We’re not saying Rick is the guy [yet]”, Bishop said. “We’re just saying Maryland really loves Pitino. He’s their best dog.

Bickel added that the school boosters were leading the charge

“He’s their number one pick,” Bickel added. “They’re going hard on him right now and there are a few donors leading the charge.”

In response, Bickel said Pitino was happy in Iona despite Maryland’s “power brokers” pushing him.

Louisville fired Pitino for cause in 2017 as part of an FBI investigation. After a brief stint coaching in Greece, Pitino returned to college basketball at Iona in 2020. He took the Gaels to the NCAA Men’s Tournament in his freshman year, and the team is set to do so again. This year.

Pitino’s short tenure at Iona has been so successful so far that the team have considered signing him on a lifetime contract.

Maryland, meanwhile, parted ways with head coach Mark Turgeon in December after 10 years together. Turgeon has played in five NCAA tournaments but only made it past weekend two.

Pitino was on IFThe initial list of Kevin Sweeney’s replacements when Turgeon and Maryland parted ways

The Terrapins’ current interim head coach is Danny Manning, who led the team to a 15-15, 7-12 record in the Big Ten with one game to go.

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