Another postseason collapse by the St. John’s men’s basketball team has cost coach Steve Lavin his job. School officials announced Lavin, 50, and St. John’s have “mutually agreed to part ways.”
Another postseason collapse by the St. John’s men’s basketball team has cost coach Steve Lavin his job.
School officials announced Friday that Lavin and St. John’s have “mutually agreed to part ways.”
Athletic director Chris Monasch said in a statement “a national search is underway for a candidate who possesses the characteristics to give our program an opportunity to successfully compete at the national level.”
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Sources told The Record that there is mutual interest between legendary St. John’s player Chris Mullin, formerly the general manager of the NBA Golden State Warriors, and the St. John’s administration.
St. John’s also is interested in Rhode Island coach Danny Hurley and Manhattan coach Steve Masiello, a source said.
A source said St. John’s and Lavin had talked about a contract extension this week. But as negotiations dragged on, it became clear some people in the administration wanted to move on from the 50-year-old Lavin, who had one year remaining on his contract.
The Red Storm rallied from a 2-5 start in the Big East Conference this season and won eight of its next 10 games to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament, its second trip to the Big Dance under Lavin. But St. John’s lost its last three games of the season by double digits, including a second-round defeat to San Diego State in the NCAAs, and finished 21-12.
In that 76-64 loss to the Aztecs on March 20, St. John’s was without 6-foot-9 shot-blocking specialist Chris Obekpa, who was suspended by Lavin. The player’s transgression was smoking marijuana, according to a source. A source told The Record that Obekpa’s suspension was “the final straw” for some in the administration who were already dissatisfied with Lavin.
Lavin, who missed most of the 2012-13 season while battling prostate cancer, had an 81-55 record at St. John’s.
Lavin is 226-133 overall in 12 college seasons — including seven with UCLA, where he had a 145-78 record and guided the Bruins to six appearances in the NCAA tournament.
Lavin said in a statement, “In life change is inevitable, so I take the long view. I’m grateful for my time teaching at St. John’s University.”
Sources say Lavin has interest in filling the coaching vacancy at Arizona State.
• An NCAA investigation at his former school lingered over Donnie Tyndall before he coached a game for Tennessee, and his unethical actions at Southern Mississippi have led to his firing after one season.
The decision to part ways with Tyndall, who had a 16-16 record, leaves the Volunteers once again searching for someone to stabilize a program that has recently been in constant upheaval.
Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart said it would be fair to say it was a mistake to hire Tyndall, 44, who Hart said acknowledged deleting emails that could have been relevant to the Southern Miss investigation.
• Florida guard Michael Frazier II is leaving school early and plans to enter the NBA draft.
Frazier wrote on Twitter that he has signed with agent Matt Ramker of ASM Sports.
Frazier averaged 12.1 points and 4.1 rebounds as a junior this season.