They got their man

It took nearly two weeks of
searching, but it appears St. John’s
has fi nally found its next men’s
basketball coach.

Steve Lavin, former UCLA
Coach and ESPN analyst, fi nalized a
six-year deal to coach the Red Storm, a
contract reportedly worth $9-9.5
million, according to the Daily News.

The News also reported that he’ll
have an expendable budget to use
toward hiring assistant coaches.
Multiple reports Monday said
that Athletic Director Chris Monasch
met with Lavin Monday night at a
restaurant in Tribeca and had “a very
positive dialogue,” sources told the
Daily News.

It was also reported that Lavin
expressed interest in the St. John’s job
as early as last Friday, when the team
was in the process of interviewing
now former Boston College Coach Al
Skinner, who was fi red Tuesday after
13 seasons with the team.

“I haven’t gone on wild-goose
chases,” Lavin told The New York Post.
“It’s going to take a unique situation
for me to put the armor on one more
time. St. John’s is a tremendous
opportunity: a great city, a great
conference, a great talent base,
great academics.”

Lavin coached at UCLA from
1996-2003, compiling a record of
145-78, reaching the Sweet 16 fi ve
times in six seasons and the Elite 8
in 1997, the same year the Bruins
won their only Pac-10 title during
his tenure at the school.

The deal comes just days
after Seton Hall announced that
former Iona coach Kevin Willard
would replace Bobby Gonzalez as its
Head Coach, who was fi red on March
17, and about a week after Fordham
announced that former Hofstra Coach
Tom Pecora would become its next
Head Coach.

The Red Storm were reportedly
interested in Florida coach Billy
Donovan, although confl icting reports
surfaced that St. John’s offered him
a contract worth $3 million. St. John’s
also reached out to Georgia Tech
head coach Paul Hewitt, who rejected
an offer made by the University on
March 25.