ALBANY — Mike Repole is raring to return to St. John’s as a benefactor of the basketball program if the Queens college can shut on Rick Pitino.
The billionaire alumnus is firmly behind the potential rent and able to get entangled, he advised The Put up in an unique interview.
With the appearance of Title, Picture and Likeness (NIL), his deep pockets will surely profit the Crimson Storm, who’re concerned within the NIL area with a collective, Storm Advertising.
“As a proud and passionate St. John’s alum, I’ve waited over 15 years for St. John’s to rent a Corridor of Fame coach like Rick Pitino,” Repole, the Vitamin Water co-founder, enterprise mogul and Queens native, mentioned Saturday afternoon, as St. John’s continued its pursuit of Pitino, the Iona coach. “He’s the kind of coach that the College has deserved for the reason that day Louie Carnesecca retired.”
Iona didn’t return to the world till Saturday afternoon, after dropping its NCAA Match, opening-round recreation to Connecticut at MVP Area in Albany.
Pitino was anticipated to satisfy with college brass in some unspecified time in the future this weekend.
The 70-year-old coach has mentioned he was not acquainted sufficient with St. John’s and would need to see it earlier than making a choice on his future.
A supply near Pitino advised The Put up he didn’t need to transfer from his residence in Mamaroneck, N.Y., on the Winged Foot Golf Membership, suggesting he would both take the St. John’s job or keep at Iona.
One other supply mentioned St. John’s president Rev. Brian Shanley, who almost employed Pitino 12 years in the past whereas he was president at Windfall, has been “relentless” in his pursuit.
Repole, 54, has financially supported Fordham lately, however has maintained a relationship with St. John’s athletic director Mike Cragg, he mentioned.
Repole and Pitino are pals by their curiosity in horse racing — Repole received the Belmont Stakes final June and owns Repole Stables — and have recognized one another for greater than 15 years.
Pitino and Cragg are conscious of Repole’s intentions, in line with sources.
“If St. John’s gives Rick Pitino the job and Rick Pitino decides to just accept the place, I undoubtedly could be concerned in each serving to the basketball staff financially and serving to Rick out with NIL,” Repole mentioned.
“Attempting to be a profitable entrepreneur, there’s sure folks in several areas of enterprise or sports activities, you look as much as what they do. Whether or not it’s [the late] Kobe Bryant in basketball or Tom Brady in soccer or Rick Pitino as a coach. These are the those that I aspire to be in my enterprise with.”
Repole, a previous booster, was a vocal critic of the final St. John’s teaching search in 2019.
He went on WFAN and ripped former president Bobby Gempesaw and the board of trustees for what he felt was low-balling Cragg’s first alternative, Bobby Hurley, and for not hiring his brother Dan, now the coach at Connecticut, throughout the earlier search in 2015.
The varsity opted for Chris Mullin in 2015 and Mike Anderson in 2019, neither of whom labored out.
“I feel every thing I mentioned in that rant was correct,” mentioned Repole, who now resides in Florida. “That’s prior to now, and simply that we’re pursuing a coach like Rick Pitino tells me the brand new administration is approach completely different from that administration I used to be speaking about. I don’t have a relationship with Father Shanley, however all people who I encounter that is aware of him solely has extremely constructive issues to say about him.”
Requested if would purchase season tickets if Pitino does actually take over at St. John’s, Repole laughed.
“With all the assistance I’m planning to offer the basketball program,” he joked, “I’m hoping I can get just a few free seats.”