The breakout coaching star of the 2023 NCAA Tournament will be on the sidelines for another team next season. Tobin Anderson, the coach of Fairleigh Dickinson, which became the second No. 16 seed in NCAA Tournament history to defeat a No. 1 seed, is leaving the Knights after one season to replace Rick Pitino at Iona, according to CBS Sports' Matt Norlander. Anderson informed his team of the decision on Tuesday.
Anderson will succeed Pitino after he left the Gaels to become the next head coach at St. John's.
Fairleigh Dickinson stunned the college basketball world in taking down No. 1 seed Purdue 63-58 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and Anderson endeared himself to the sport as a lovable, sincere character who can relate to his players and quickly turn a program around. He's set to make the move after leading the Knights to a 21-16 overall record in his first and only season, helping them in the process advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.
Anderson and the Knights fell short of making history in their quest to become the first No. 16 seed to ever make the Sweet 16 -- FDU fell Sunday in Round 2 to No. 9 seed Florida Atlantic 78-70 -- but not before him and his program etched their names into the record books as one of the most memorable underdog stories in NCAA Tournament history.
"We went toe-to-toe with two great teams, and didn't back down, didn't go away," said Anderson on Sunday after the team's season-ending loss. "Every part of this I'll remember forever."
Fairleigh Dickinson went 4-22 last season under Greg Herenda. The school hired Anderson from St. Thomas Aquinas, a Division II school, last offseason. In one season he helped the team earn its first winning season since 2018-19 and third above .500 season since 2006-2007.
"[FDU] won four games last year. We were a 6-0 run away from the Sweet 16," Anderson said Sunday. "I don't know about sports stories, but that's got to be the most amazing. To go from 4-22 to being right there to almost make the Sweet 16, if that's not one of the most amazing things in my life, that's crazy."