ESPN college basketball analyst and former UCLA coach Steve Lavin — a Bay Area native — has been hired to take over the program at St. John’s University in New York.
Lavin, whose father Cap played for coach Pete Newell’s 1949 NIT championship team at USF, spent seven seasons as coach at UCLA. He directed six of those teams into the NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite 8 round in 1996-97 and the Sweet 16 four other times. He was fired after a 10-19 season in 2002-03, but exited with a career win-loss record of 145-78.
He inherits a St. John’s team that went 17-16 this season, including 6-12 in the Big East Conference, but could return as many as 10 lettermen. The Red Storm, which has not played in the NCAA Tournament since 2002, will begin a home-and-home series next season against UCLA.
Meanwhile, former USC coach Tim Floyd was hired by Texas-El Paso to replace Tony Barbee, who left to become coach at Auburn.
Currently an assistant coach with the New Orleans Hornets of the NBA, served as an assistant to the late Don Haskins at UTEP from 1978 through ’86, and since then has been a head coach at Idaho, New Orleans, Iowa State and USC. He also coached the post-Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls.
Floyd was 85-50 in four seasons at USC and the Trojans won the 2009 Pac-10 tournament title. But he resigned amid controversy last spring as the program faced an NCAA investigation into the recruitment of former USC star O.J. Mayo. The university gave the basketball program self-imposed sanctions this season, including a ban on 2010 postseason play, and awaits further word from the NCAA in the coming months.