Jan 23, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino celebrates a victory against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at McCamish Pavilion. Louisville defeated Georgia Tech 75-71. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

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Rick Pitino Interested In St. John's Job, But There's A Catch

April 09, 2019 - 4:36 pm
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By WFAN.com

With Chris Mullin's resignation now official, St. John's is in the market for a new head basketball coach.

The Red Storm already have one Hall of Fame coach interested in the open position, but only under one condition.

Rick Pitino, currently coaching in Greece, said he would have interest in the coaching position at St. John's, but only if he was given an apology and publicly cleared by the Southern District of New York, according to Zach Braziller of the New York Post.

Pitino was fired by Louisville in September 2017 after allegations of a pay-for-play scandal that was part of the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball. To make matters worse, Pitino was also head coach during the time of the program's alleged escort scandal, in which recruits and players at Louisville were being entertained by strippers and prostitutes.

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The head coach maintains his innocence on both accounts, and said he wouldn't be able to accept the job at St. John's unless his name was cleared.

"My point is I have great respect for St. John’s, and in order to be in that environment, people would have to know the truth,” Pitino said in an interview with The Post. “I’ve never, ever in 40-plus years of coaching ever given $5 for a player to come play for me. You can ask Donovan Mitchell, Derek Anderson, Antoine Walker, all the guys I recruited.

"There wasn’t a shred of evidence except for a con artist mentioning my name and they never rectified it, never came out and offered me an apology. Southern District of New York just says you’re collateral damage and says the hell with you.”

While Pitino may have interest in the job, he denied reaching out to the school about the open position.

At the end of the day, the Hall of Fame coach does not believe the Red Storm will have interest bringing him on-board. Instead, Pitino indicated that St. John's athletic director Mike Cragg will target Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley for the position, as the two spent time together at Duke.

Hurley, along with Iona coach Tim Cluess, are expected to be on St. John's short list of candidates.