Did Iona Basketball Jump the Gun in Hiring Tobin Anderson?
It was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the NCAA Tournament when No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson took down No. 1 Purdue back in March. Then-FDU head coach Tobin Anderson was thrust into the national spotlight after containing National Player of the Year Zach Edey. Four days later, Anderson was announced as Iona’s next head coach to replace Rick Pitino. The coaching carousel moves fast. Did Iona get ahead of themselves in hiring Anderson off one game, even if it was a historic one?
I asked a similar question when Florida Basketball hired Todd Golden, a move which I’m still not sold on even today. However, I’m not as skeptical of Iona in this case.
Before going to Fairleigh Dickinson, Tobin Anderson was a successful Division II head coach at St. Thomas Aquinas. During his nine seasons in charge, the Spartans compiled a 209-62 overall record and 128-30 conference record. Anderson guided them to six regular season conference titles and six conference tournament titles. STAC also made noise on the national stage, reaching the NCAA Tournament six times in eight opportunities, advancing to three Sweet 16s and one Elite Eight.
Tobin Anderson Had Been on Iona’s Radar
Iona hired Anderson off far more than just one game. He’s been winning for years, specifically in their region. Matthew Glovaski, Iona’s Director of Athletics, confirmed as much when the hire was initially announced:
“We have long known him to be a fantastic coach and an even better person. Now, with his team’s impressive run in the NCAA tournament, everyone paying attention to March Madness also knows this.”
Although the initial optics make it look as though Iona Basketball hired Anderson on a whim, he was on their radar for a while. They pursued him back in 2020 before hiring Pitino. FDU’s upset of Purdue was the perfect opportunity for Iona to revisit that recruitment and a solid indicator that Anderson was ready to make the jump from the NEC to the MAAC.
It’s a new era in New Rochelle. Replacing an all-time great is never an easy task, but Iona has done their due diligence with Tobin Anderson. His many years of success even before defeating Purdue were worth the vote of confidence, and Anderson has earned the step up.
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