Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino has led the Iona Gaels to the NCAA men's basketball tournament in his first year with the University. The team secured a place in the tournament with a 60-51 victory over Fairfield in the MAAC title game, Saturday. 

Iona's win makes Pitino the third coach in college basketball history to lead five different teams to the NCAA tournament. Pitino tournament teams include Boston University, Providence College, Kentucky, Louisville, and Iona.

Rick Pitino, Iona, NCAA
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

"I'm just really pleased to be at Iona," Pitino told reporters after the game. "When you grow up in New York, I grew up on 26th Street, on the East Side of Manhattan. I lived in Queens, I lived in Long Island, I lived in Westchester when I was the Knick coach. I'm New York strong all the way through, and it means a lot to be at Iona."

Pitino grew up in New York City. He says he chose Iona, in part, because of his proximity to his home: "I knew it was the right fit. It's 30 minutes from my apartment in New York City; it's 10 minutes from my son in Harrison, New York. It's 10 minutes from a golf club I've belonged to, Winged Foot. It has a great tradition; the coach before me did an unbelievable job. So many small Catholic schools [have had success]. Gonzaga. Dayton. Iona has a chance to build on what Tim Cluess has done."

[Via]