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Iona Basketball Coach Rick Pitino Buys Islanders Season Tickets

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CHESTNUT HILL, MA - FEBRUARY 04: Louisville Cardinals head coach Rick Pitino during the first half of a college basketball game between Louisville Cardinals and Boston College Eagles on February 4, 2017, at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, MA. Louisville defeated Boston College 90-67. (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire)

Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello is doing more than just selling NHL players on the New York Islanders, it seems he’s selling some of his friends on season tickets.

Legendary college basketball coach Rick Pitino told News 12 that during a recent dinner between himself and Lamoriello that he was convinced to jump on the Islanders bandwagon and purchase season tickets. Pitino was named head coach of nearby Iona College’s men’s basketball program in March.

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“We spent three and a half hours together and I bought Islander season tickets just because of Lou,” Pitino told the Long Island news station. “Now I’m somewhat of a hockey fan, but not over the top. I feel that Lou Lamoriello will bring a Stanley Cup champion to the Islanders and I bought two season tickets with their new place at Belmont Park.”

Pitino and Lamoriello have a long history together that goes back to both to their days at Providence College. Lamoriello was the athletic director there and hired Pitino to coach the men’s basketball team in 1985.

Rick Pitino is also no stranger to Long Island, having been born in nearby New York City, going to high school at St. Dominic in Oyster Bay and coaching the New York Knicks from 1987 to 1989.

Pitino said in the interview that he had signed up for season tickets for three years, but that the salesperson tried to get him locked in for 10 years. The Iona coached joked that he may not live long enough to see the whole 10 years.

“I said to him, ‘how long do you think I’m going live? I’ve been coaching 43 years,'” Pitino said. “And he laughed. I said ‘I think I’ll stay with the three-year package.'”

The famed basketball coach’s season ticket purchase added to the growing number of people that have bought packages for the Islanders new arena at Belmont Park.

In August, the Islanders announced that 80 percent of season tickets at  UBS Arena had been sold. Ticket sales were boosted by the Islanders run to the Eastern Conference Finals over the summer.

“The unprecedented demand for season tickets adds a new level of excitement about the team. The support from our loyal Islanders fans across the metro NY region has been tremendous,” Islanders Co-Owner Jon Ledecky said in a statement at the time.

While Islanders games are not the must be events that games at Madison Square Garden have been in the past, some notable people have been known to be spotted at games in the past. Former New York Jet Damien Woody has become a vocal supporter of the Islanders.

New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard has been to games in the past, as has Law & Order SVU star Peter Scanavino.

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