Rick Pitino and college basketball’s second-chance coaches discuss new challenges

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Rick Pitino isn’t going into his first season at Iona with the sole intention of getting revenge on the forces that ran him out of college basketball.

That’s not to say he isn’t motivated.

“To say I have a chip on my shoulder would be incorrect. I have a boulder on my shoulder,” Pitino said. “Not for seeking revenge; it’s more to the fact I’m more passionate, more hungry, today than I was in my 30s. It’s because of my absence from the game of college basketball. I do have a major, major boulder on my shoulder — but not to stick it to people.”

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Pitino has been out of the college game since Louisville fired him for cause in October 2017, following an FBI investigation into college basketball that included allegations regarding the Cardinals’ recruitment of Brian Bowen. Pitino has steadfastly maintained his innocence in the three years since his ouster, but zero colleges were willing to hire him in the two coaching carousel cycles that followed. He went overseas and took over the Greek club Panathinaikos in 2018, leading them to a Greek Cup and a Greek Basket League championship.

It was only a matter of time before he returned to college, and Iona stepped forward last spring when it needed to replace Tim Cluess, who resigned due to health issues.

Pitino’s last four jobs before Greece were some of the biggest in the sport: New York Knicks, Kentucky, Boston Celtics and Louisville. Iona is obviously a bit different, but it checks some other boxes that make Pitino very comfortable.

“If it was in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, I would not have taken the job. I live five miles away,” Pitino said of the New Rochelle, New York, campus. “I’m not looking to move. I’m


Books that top career coaches recommend that all their clients read

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  • It’s a scary and confusing time to be looking for a job.
  • We asked top career coaches for the books they recommend to all their clients who feel lost, stuck, or ready to start something brand-new.
  • Their recommendations, listed below, include business classics and contemporary guides to career changes.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The pandemic recession has thrown a wrench in many people’s career plans.

In some industries, it’s all but impossible to find an employer that’s hiring. Other businesses are tightening their belts, so that petitioning your boss for a promotion or a raise seems laughable.

Wherever you find yourself, it helps to know you’re not alone — and to seek guidance from folks who’ve navigated similar challenges.

To that end, Business Insider asked some of the most innovative career coaches — who’ve worked with leaders at the likes of Amazon and Goldman Sachs on issues like salary negotiation and imposter syndrome — for the books they recommend to all their clients. We heard about contemporary guides to career changes (“Pivot” by Jenny Blake), bestselling business classics (“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie), and an ode to professional networking (“Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi).

Below, we’ve listed all of those recommendations, along with a synopsis of the book, which coach swears by it, and why. Each one will help you see the current climate as an opportunity for growth — and for reinvention.

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Virus touches college football, from upending schedules to making coaches ill

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If coach Dana Holgorsen seemed relieved after his University of Houston football team finally played a game Thursday night, no one can blame him. Five times the Cougars had season-opening opponents either cancel or postpone games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When finally allowed on the field, the Cougars overcame five turnovers to outlast Tulane 49-31.

“We won, so that’s good, but there’s a lot of things we’ve got to get better at,” Holgorsen told reporters.

Houston’s story is only one of several to play out this season as colleges return to campus and try to find a way to coexist with COVID-19. Through Thursday, 26 FBS games had been postponed or canceled since the season began. That’s in addition to the upheaval of conferences retooling their schedules for later starts and shorter seasons.

The Gophers are scheduled to open a nine-game Big Ten season on Oct. 24 against Michigan.

In Houston’s case, the season was supposed to start Sept. 3 vs. Rice, but the Owls dropped out because of COVID-19. The next game, vs. Washington State, was eliminated when the Pac-12 originally canceled its season. The next game, vs. Memphis, was postponed, and the Cougars scrambled to fill that date with Baylor, until the Bears canceled 48 hours before kickoff. North Texas became the fifth program to beg out, canceling the Sept. 26 game.

“You can’t compare this to anything. … This is on a whole ‘nother level,” Holgorsen said earlier this week. “The one thing that has given us hope is we sit here and watch other teams playing.”

Familiar names impacted

When Notre Dame and Florida State meet Saturday night in South Bend, Ind., on display will be two teams whose seasons have been impacted greatly by COVID-19.

The fifth-ranked Fighting Irish return after their Sept. 26


What coaches are saying about five of college football’s new quarterbacks in the spotlight

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The significance of new starting quarterbacks shouldn’t be lost on the modern-day college football fan. Just check the past two groups of Heisman Trophy finalists.

Although the 2019 Heisman winner, LSU’s Joe Burrow, was in his second year with the Tigers, the other two quarterback finalists, Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and Ohio State’s Justin Fields, had shined after transferring to their new teams. In 2018, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray won the Heisman in his first year as the Sooners’ starter, while the other finalists, Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, also stood out in their first full seasons as QB1.

Not surprisingly, new quarterbacks are in the spotlight this season. Some are already on the Heisman radar, alongside familiar names such as Fields and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence as well as other incumbents, including Florida’s Kyle Trask. I spoke to coaches about five notable QBs playing their first major minutes for their teams, and had the coaches assess their play so far, their potential this season and what lies ahead for them.

Record: 3-0

Stats: 63-of-94 passing for 736 yards, six touchdowns, no interceptions, 83.9 QBR; 28 rushes for 157 yards, one rushing touchdown

Up next: Saturday at No. 1 Clemson

King already is exceeding the expectations placed on him to jump-start a dormant Miami offense. Along with new playcaller Rhett Lashlee, King is adding a dynamic element for the Hurricanes with his efficient passing, explosive running ability and field vision, both as a passer and a runner. It’s still early, and Miami will learn a lot more after this week’s trip to Clemson, but King looks a lot like the player who was a Maxwell Award semifinalist in 2018, when he accounted for 50 touchdowns despite


Coaches Poll top 25: Florida, Georgia tied at No. 3, Oklahoma State way up in college football rankings

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NCAA Football: Auburn at Georgia

Losses up and down the top 25 have provided the setting for one of the most significant shakeups in the college football rankings to date. When the new Coaches Poll top 25 was released on Sunday, four teams had fallen out of the rankings and five teams saw jumps up of five spots or more. 

A total of eight ranked teams lost in Week 5, with six of those losses coming to unranked opponents. No. 13 Auburn and No. 20 Texas A&M weren’t punished as much for their losses to No. 3 Georgia and No. 2 Alabama, while the falls for the other six teams dropped them right out of the rankings. Oklahoma State was one of the biggest risers this week, up nine spots to No. 10 after beating Kansas to improve to 3-0. 

The most notable drop was for Oklahoma, which now sits at 1-2 after its loss to Iowa State. The Sooners are unranked for the first time since 2014. It’s also the first 0-2 start in Big 12 play for the Sooners since 1998. 

While the shifts were dramatic further down the rankings, it’s also notable to see the coaches start to put some more support behind Georgia, which is up one spot and now in a tie for No. 3 with its SEC East rival Florida. 

Check out the full Coaches Poll top 25 below: 

1. Clemson (46 first-place votes)
2. Alabama (14)
3. Georgia 
3. Florida 
5. Notre Dame 
6. Ohio State (2)
7. Miami
8. Penn State 
9. North Carolina 
10. Oklahoma State 
11. Cincinnati 
12. Tennessee 
13. Auburn 
14. Wisconsin 
15. BYU
16. LSU
17. Oregon 
18. Virginia Tech 
19. Michigan 
20. Texas A&M
21. SMU
22. Texas 
23. Louisiana 
24. Iowa State 
25. UCF 

Others receiving votes: Mississippi State 120;

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