NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Might St. John’s raid another area college basketball program to fill its open head coach position?
According to the New York Post, it’s possible. The Red Storm have apparently held informal discussions with Iona head coach Tim Cluess to take over, following the resignation of Chris Mullin earlier this week.
It is believed talks could intensify in the coming days, the newspaper reported.
Not long after Mullin stepped down on Tuesday following four disappointing seasons, reports circulated that local legend and current Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley was considered the leading candidate to replace him. Hurley’s Sun Devils eliminated the Red Storm from the recently completed NCAA Tournament in the First Four.
However, Cluess, 60, may be the better fit. He is highly respected throughout the Tri-State Area, which is a major plus considering how desperately St. John’s wants to dominate the local recruiting scene. He has led Iona to the NCAA Tournament in six of the last nine seasons, winning at least 20 games in every season but 2018-19 and compiling a 199-108 overall record.
This season’s Iona team may have been Cluess’ best coaching job of all. The Gaels (17-16 overall) started 2-9 and later endured a four-game losing streak before rallying to win 10 straight, including all three games in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament.
Iona’s season ended with a competitive 88-73 loss to No. 1 seed North Carolina in its opening game of the NCAA Tournament, a matchup the Gaels led by five at the half.
Born in Queens, Cluess also coached at St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset, N.Y., Suffolk County Community College and Division II LIU-Post before landing at Iona in 2010. He also has a personal connection to St. John’s, having played at the school from 1979-81 before transferring to Hofstra.