St. John’s Head Coach Rick Pitino Benched Due to COVID-19, Assistant Takes Helm

St. John’s University announced today that their head basketball coach, Rick Pitino, has been sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19. Consequently, Pitino will miss the crucial matchup against Seton Hall scheduled for Tuesday night. The announcement of Pitino’s absence came just three hours before the anticipated tipoff, sending a ripple of surprise through fans and the basketball community.
Associate coach Steve Masiello has been appointed as the acting coach in Pitino’s stead for the game against Seton Hall. Masiello will not only lead the Red Storm on the court but also take charge of media responsibilities during this unexpected turn of events.
At 71 years old, Pitino is in his inaugural season with St. John’s, having been appointed on March 20. A distinguished figure in collegiate basketball, Pitino boasts an illustrious career, with 35 seasons as a head coach. Prior to his tenure with St. John’s, he spent three successful seasons at Iona.
Throughout his coaching career, Pitino has left an indelible mark on the NCAA Division I landscape. With 23 NCAA Tournament appearances across five different schools, he stands as one of the winningest coaches in Division I history. Remarkably, Pitino has steered teams to the Final Four seven times, a feat achieved by only six coaches in the history of college basketball.
Pitino’s coaching legacy includes the unprecedented achievement of taking three different schools to the Final Four. Furthermore, he holds the distinction of being the first coach to secure NCAA championships at two different institutions – Louisville and Kentucky.
As the basketball fraternity wishes Pitino a swift recovery, attention now turns to St. John’s upcoming game against Marquette at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Ranked 17th, Marquette promises to be a formidable opponent, and it remains to be seen if Pitino will be back in the coaching seat for that pivotal matchup.
In the wake of Pitino’s COVID-19 diagnosis, the St. John’s community and the wider basketball world are sending their thoughts and best wishes for a speedy recovery for the esteemed coach.