Reports: Fairleigh Dickinson head coach Tobin Anderson leaving to replace Rick Pitino at Iona
FDU became just the second No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the men's NCAA tournament
Fairleigh Dickinson head coach Tobin Anderson won’t be back for another run at the NCAA tournament with the Knights.
Anderson is set to replace Rick Pitino at Iona, according to multiple reports. Pitino is leaving Iona to become the new coach at St. John’s.
Anderson, 51, became a coveted coach after FDU became the second school in NCAA men’s tournament history to upset a No. 1 seed in 152 attempts. FDU took down Purdue, 63-58, in the first round on Friday night to join UMBC as the only other school to beat a No. 1 seed.
FDU hung with Florida Atlantic in the second round and even had a lead in the second half before losing to the Owls, 78-70, on Sunday. Because it beat Texas Southern in a play-in game three days before beating Purdue, FDU became the first No. 16 seed to win two games in the tournament.
The 2022-23 season was Anderson’s only one at FDU. He was hired from Division II St. Thomas Aquinas in Sparkill, New York, ahead of the season. Anderson spent nine seasons at Aquinas and his teams had a 209-62 record overall and went 128-30 in the East Coast Conference. Aquinas qualified for the DII NCAA tournament in his last seven seasons with the school and made it to the Elite Eight in 2017.
Anderson brought three players to FDU with him from Aquinas as the Knights had a remarkable turnaround from the 2021-22 season. FDU won four games a season ago before finishing 21-16 in 2022-23. The 21 wins were also just three fewer than the school had in the previous three seasons combined.
Two of the players who went with Anderson to FDU were a big reason for the turnaround and were some of the stars of the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Demetre Roberts and Sean Moore were the team’s leading scorers and played huge roles in the upset over Purdue. Moore had 19 points while Roberts scored 12 in the win. Roberts then scored 20 in the second-round loss to FAU while Moore had 14.
In moving to Iona, Anderson takes over a program that’s not too far away from both Aquinas and FDU, and one that has a recent history of making the NCAA tournament through winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament. Iona has qualified for the NCAA tournament in six out of the past eight seasons as a No. 13 seed or lower.
Two of those tournament appearances came in Pitino’s three seasons. Iona had a 64-22 record in Pitino’s tenure at the school.