- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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Former UCLA coach and current ESPN analyst Steve Lavin will meet with St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch Monday in New York after a lengthy conversation Sunday night, multiple sources told ESPN.com Sunday.
Lavin has been an analyst for ESPN the past six seasons. He coached UCLA for seven seasons from 1996 to 2003, leading the Bruins to the Elite Eight once and the Sweet 16 five times. Lavin would fit the Red Storm's desire to hire a name coach with personality and charisma that can capture the New York market as it tries to become more relevant in the city. Lavin would likely hire a New York-based staff to help recruit the area.
St. John's is searching for a replacement for Norm Roberts, who Monasch fired after the Red Storm lost at Memphis in the first round of the NIT. The Red Storm made overtures to Florida's Billy Donovan and made an actual offer from the school to Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt, but was turned down.
Last Friday, St. John's interviewed Boston College's Al Skinner, who remains a candidate. Saturday, the Red Storm interviewed Siena's Fran McCaffery, who later took the Iowa head coaching job. A potential interview with Temple's Fran Dunphy never materialized and there have been attempts to get Monasch with Rhode Island's Jim Baron, whose Rams are in New York for the NIT final four this week, and Cornell's Steve Donahue, whose Big Red lost to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 in Syracuse Thursday.
Lavin was working at ESPN in Bristol, Conn., over the weekend and was expected to stay in the area so he could meet with Monasch. Lavin was on the verge of accepting the NC State job in 2006 in a whirlwind time for the Wolfpack after Herb Sendek went to Arizona State. The Wolfpack offered the job to then-Memphis coach John Calipari who turned it down. Lavin ultimately withdrew and stayed at ESPN. But Lavin has been coaching more in the offseason, doing clinics overseas and in the U.S.
Meanwhile, Northeastern's Bill Coen has emerged as one of the top candidates to replace McCaffery at Siena if the Saints opt to go outside of McCaffery's staff for a replacement. Siena is considered the top job in the MAAC with its passionate fan base in Albany and NCAA tournament success.
Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.