Pitino took over at Iona in March after not having coached in college since being fired from Louisville in October 2017.
"I'm real excited," Pitino said. "Hofstra is a team that is picked to win their league, and this is a good victory for us."
Guard Isaiah Ross helped power the Gaels' victory, scoring a career-high 33 points.
Iona lost its season opener to Seton Hall 86-64.
"Look, the first year is always the most difficult," Pitino, 68, said. "All of the players are new to this system. But the good thing is our players have so much upside to get better. And that's exciting."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.