Rick Pitino rises from ashes of scandal for rebirth at Iona


FILE – Iona head coach Rick Pitino celebrates after Iona won an NCAA college basketball game against Fairfield during the finals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament in Atlantic City, N.J., in this Saturday, March 13, 2021, file photo.Rick Pitino survived sex scandals and FBI investigations , won national championships , and when his coaching options seemingly dried up , he left for Greece. Somehow , the winding road of his career took him to Iona – and back in the NCAA Tournament. The last stop – he swears it’s true – of his career. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)

INDIANAPOLIS — The coronavirus was already in town by the time Rick Pitino arrived.

It never fully let go of its grip around Iona.

Forced to pause four times this season because of the virus, once for nearly two months, the Gaels still won their conference tournament to make the NCAA Tournament.

The Hall of Fame coach became just the third coach to lead five teams in the NCAA Tournament.

He was already the only coach to take three teams to the Final Four.  

Pitino says he will retire at Iona.

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