Boston College coach Al Skinner has apparently dropped behind former UCLA coach Steve Lavin in the St. John's coaching derby to find a replacement for Norm Roberts who was fired two weeks ago.
According to sources familiar with the search, one of the topics that St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch focused on in his interview with Skinner on Friday was who would be on his staff. Monasch felt that any new coach needed a strong link to the powerful AAU presence in New York City and wanted Skinner to hire someone with strong connections in that area. Skinner said that he wanted to bring his current coaching staff which included Pat Duquette, Mo Cassera and Bonzie Colson, all who have more New England ties than New York connections.
On Saturday, Monasch interviewed Siena coach Fran McCaffery, but McCaffery was in the process of finalizing a deal which sent him to the University of Iowa as its new head coach.
Monasch then decided to go for a victory in the "press conference'' and made contact with Lavin, who last coached at UCLA eight years ago. Monasch had the same question for Lavin, who according to sources familiar with the situation, told Monasch he had no problems in making those hires. All of it seemed to work and yesterday sources familiar with the situation said that St. John's was preparing a deal which will include Lavin as well as former Dave Leitao, who had experience as not only an assistant on Jim Calhoun's staff at Connecticut as well as head coaching stops at Northeastern, DePaul and Virginia as well as Manhattan head coach Barry Rohrssen, who has strong recruiting ties in the city. An announcement could come as soon as today if details could be worked out.
In the other Big East opening at Seton Hall, with McCaffery out of the mix, Seton Hall officials focused on Iona coach Kevin Willard. According to sources familiar with the situation, an announcement could on that job could also be made on Monday
If this worked out, Skinner will be out of the mix and will return to BC and work on returning BC to a role as an NCAA tournament quality team.
- Michael Vega
- Mark Blaudschun
- Nancy Marrapese-Burrell