St. John's basketball: Rick Pitino not a candidate for Kentucky job despite history

The Hall of Famer is going to remain in Queens for a multitude of reasons
St. John's v Seton Hall; St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino
St. John's v Seton Hall; St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino / Mitchell Layton/GettyImages

One of the first names to circulate for the Kentucky vacancy on Sunday night following John Calipari's departure for Arkansas was St. John's basketball head coach Rick Pitino.

Calipari's decision was as stunning of a move that the sport has ever seen and immediately took over the headlines from Monday night's National Championship between UConn and Purdue.

However, Pitino's name being connected to the job was not surprising since he was the coach of the Wildcats from 1989-97, leading the program to three Final Four's and a National Championship before leaving to become the Boston Celtics head coach.

Despite all the conversation, everything remains speculation surrounding Pitino and the 'Cats, and that is what it's going to be.

The Hall of Famer is not leaving the Red Storm after one season to be the next coach of Kentucky for a variety of seasons, the biggest being his age. Pitino will be 72-years old before the start of next season and doesn't have too many years left on the sidelines.

Kentucky does not want to pursue the coach to be right back in the same position, looking for a new coach, within five years, despite the sucess he could bring the blue blood on the court.

Panic struck among the Red Storm fanbase on Sunday night when many realized that Rick Pitino had been in the commonwealth of Kentucky all weekend at Keenland's Race Track opening weekend. It was a planned trip and not a spontaneous journey to dicuss the pending vacancy at Kentucky.

Baylor's Scott Drew, Alabama's Nate Oats, Auburn's Bruce Pearl, and Billy Donovan, the head coach of the Chicago Bulls, are expected to be pursued by the Wildcats.

Pitino and the Johnnies missed out on the NCAA Tournament in his first season in Queens but will be looking to make the program's first tournament since 2019 next spring.