On Dec. 18, New Mexico defeated Iona 82–74 in Albuquerque. The Lobos moved to 11–0 at the time and their coach, Richard Pitino, defeated his father—Hall of Fame Gaels coach Rick Pitino.
The two teams are all set for another matchup in the 2023–24 season. However, Rick won’t be a part of it after reportedly accepting the vacant St. John's head coaching job Monday afternoon.
Taking his father’s new gig in stride, Richard had some fun with the news on Twitter shortly after it broke.
Quote-tweeting ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski’s report on the move, Richard wrote, “Cleary ducking a return game with the Lobos.” He added a wolf and storm emoji to represent the two teams for good measure.
Both Pitinos’s teams found substantial success in 2023. New Mexico won 22 games— its most since 2014—and reached the NIT. Iona won 27 games, the MAAC regular season title and the conference tournament before falling to Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.