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Iona hires FDU’s Tobin Anderson as their new head coach

Anderson, who led the Knights to the second ever 16-over-1 upset in the NCAA Tournament, replaces Rick Pitino with the Gaels

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Fairleigh Dickinson v Florida Atlantic
Tobin Anderson led FDU to a 17-win improvement in his one season in Teaneck, N.J.
Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — The Rick Pitino Era at Iona ended with an 87-63 loss to Connecticut on Friday, and when the Hall of Famer took the vacant job as head coach at St. John’s, Iona acted swiftly in naming Farleigh Dickinson’s Tobin Anderson as their next head coach.

Anderson, who led FDU to a historic upset as a 16-seed over top-seeded Purdue last Friday night, spent just one season with the Knights. He engineered a 17-win turnaround, coming from 4-22 to 21-16.

“We have long known [Anderson] to be a fantastic coach and an even better person,” Iona Director of Athletics Matt Glovaski said in a statement. “Now, with his team’s impressive run in the NCAA Tournament, everyone paying attention to March Madness also knows this. We’re delighted that he will be at the helm of our men’s basketball program.”

His stint at FDU followed a widely successful tenure at Division II St. Thomas Aquinas College in Rockland County, N.Y. Anderson won the East Coast Conference Tournament six times while at the helm for STAC and posted a 209-62 (.771) record over the course of nine seasons at the Division II level. Anderson’s Spartans made it to the Sweet 16 four times, and the Elite Eight once in the NCAA Division II Tournament.

Before his tenure at St. Thomas Aquinas, Anderson was an assistant on Mitch Buonaguro’s staff at Siena, Iona’s MAAC rival, for two seasons.

Anderson also coached at the Division III level, winning 185 games over 12 years at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., and Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y.

His coaching career began as an assistant for two years with Dave Paulsen at Division II Le Moyne College in DeWitt, N.Y. and for one year at Clarkson.

A former Division III star himself, Anderson was a 1000-point scorer at Wesleyan University in Connecticut from 1991 to 1995.

He has spent his entire coaching career in New York State, aside from last season at FDU, which is just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. Anderson grew up in Iowa and played high school ball for his father at Interstate 35 High School.

Iona has been the class of the MAAC. The Gaels have won either the conference regular-season or tournament title in 11 of the last 12 seasons and claimed both this past year. The Maroon & Gold’s lone NCAA Tournament win came in Jim Valvano’s final season (1979-80), but it was later vacated.

“Our goal is to build upon the tremendous tradition of Iona basketball and elevate the program to greater heights,” the 51-year-old said in Iona’s release.

Anderson will be officially introduced as Iona’s head coach on Wednesday at 10 a.m., in a press conference at Hynes Athletic Center in New Rochelle.

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