It took nearly two weeks ofsearching, but it appears St. John’shas fi nally found its next men’sbasketball coach.
Steve Lavin, former UCLACoach and ESPN analyst, fi nalized asix-year deal to coach the Red Storm, acontract reportedly worth $9-9.5million, according to the Daily News.
The News also reported that he’llhave an expendable budget to usetoward hiring assistant coaches.Multiple reports Monday saidthat Athletic Director Chris Monaschmet with Lavin Monday night at arestaurant in Tribeca and had “a verypositive dialogue,” sources told theDaily News.
It was also reported that Lavinexpressed interest in the St. John’s jobas early as last Friday, when the teamwas in the process of interviewingnow former Boston College Coach AlSkinner, who was fi red Tuesday after13 seasons with the team.
“I haven’t gone on wild-goosechases,” Lavin told The New York Post.”It’s going to take a unique situationfor me to put the armor on one moretime. St. John’s is a tremendousopportunity: a great city, a greatconference, a great talent base,great academics.”
Lavin coached at UCLA from1996-2003, compiling a record of145-78, reaching the Sweet 16 fi vetimes in six seasons and the Elite 8in 1997, the same year the Bruinswon their only Pac-10 title duringhis tenure at the school.
The deal comes just daysafter Seton Hall announced thatformer Iona coach Kevin Willardwould replace Bobby Gonzalez as itsHead Coach, who was fi red on March17, and about a week after Fordhamannounced that former Hofstra CoachTom Pecora would become its nextHead Coach.
The Red Storm were reportedlyinterested in Florida coach BillyDonovan, although confl icting reportssurfaced that St. John’s offered hima contract worth $3 million. St. John’salso reached out to Georgia Techhead coach Paul Hewitt, who rejectedan offer made by the University onMarch 25.