Clark takes over for Jarvis
NEW YORK -- No school in Big East history had ever fired a coach during the season. St. John's waited only six games into this one to dismiss Mike Jarvis.
The worst start at the school in over 80 years, unhappiness from fans and some problems off the court all appeared to be factors in Friday's firing, the first during a season in the Big East's 25 years.
"This wasn't my choice, but you must respect the decision the employer makes," said Jarvis, 110-61 in his five-plus seasons.
Associate head coach Kevin Clark takes over the program on an interim basis. St. John's plays at Georgia Tech (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 5 AP) on Sunday.
Jarvis still had next year remaining on his contract, which is thought to be in the $725,000-a-year range. His son, assistant coach Mike Jarvis II, also was let go.
The timing of the firing was "the best thing for all parties," St. John's athletic director Dave Wegrzyn said.
"We feel it is in the best interest of everyone to make this decision," he said.
He refused to discuss financial arrangements.
The Red Storm opened the season by losing four of five, which hadn't happened since 1922-23, and they were beaten at home by Fairfield and Hofstra, drawing boos from fans and chants of "Fire Jarvis!"
While Jarvis' players struggled on the court this season to a 2-4 record, they had problems away from it, too.
Senior guard Willie Shaw was arrested on marijuana possession charges last month and kicked off the team. Shaw also was suspended for four games at the end of his sophomore season after testing positive for marijuana.
Junior college transfer Grady Reynolds was arrested just days before the 2002-03 season on charges he attacked a female student in a dormitory. This summer, Reynolds was ordered to perform community service and undergo anger management counseling to settle the charges, which would be dismissed in six months if he was not arrested again.
Jarvis said he might look to work in television as an analyst in the immediate future.
"I want to coach college basketball next year," he said.
Jarvis replaced Fran Fraschilla, who was fired after the 1997-98 season. Jarvis spent the previous eight seasons at George Washington and was at Boston University for five seasons before that. His career record for 18-plus seasons is 364-201. He took Boston University to the NCAA tournament twice, and George Washington three times.
Jarvis led the Red Storm to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament his first season and they lost in the second round the next year. St. John's also went to the tournament in 2002, losing in the first round, and the Red Storm won the NIT last season, finishing 21-13 by closing with a 7-1 run after going 2-6 in February.
Jarvis first came to national prominence as Patrick Ewing's high school coach at Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, Mass.
"I have no regrets at all for coming to St. John's," Jarvis said. "I would come again in a minute."
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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