March 30, 2010
QUEENS, N.Y. - Red Storm Director of Athletics Chris Monasch announced on Tuesday that Steve Lavin - whose seven-year coaching record at UCLA included six NCAA Tournament appearances, five trips to the NCAA Round of 16, and six seasons of 21 wins or more - will be the 19th head men's basketball coach in St. John's University's 102-plus years of storied tradition on the hardwood.
"Today is the start of a new era in the venerable history of St. John's basketball," Monasch said. "Steve brings the skill set and persona that we feel gives us a chance to compete at the highest level in the BIG EAST. Since Coach Lavin was unveiled as a candidate, you could feel the excitement throughout the city. St. John's is poised to recapture its legacy as New York's college team."
Lavin's coaching career was forged over 15 years in head and assistant roles at both UCLA and Purdue University. As the head coach at UCLA from the 1996-97 to 2002-03 seasons, Lavin amassed a career record of 145-78. He guided UCLA to six consecutive seasons of 21 wins or more, and to six consecutive NCAA tournaments (1996-2002).
"This is an opportunity of a lifetime to be able to return to the sidelines coaching college basketball at a school like St. John's that has such tradition and heritage in terms of the history of basketball," Lavin said. "Then you add the academic dimension, as well as New York City and Madison Square Garden, it's as good as it gets.
"The veteran, senior-laden team is a real advantage in terms of having the experience of playing in the BIG EAST and competing at the highest level," Lavin said. "I look forward to getting to know each of the players individually, being able to sit down and watch some game film from last year, putting together a staff and starting to have our school sessions in terms of planning for next season."
During Lavin's tenure as the head coach at UCLA, he was one of only two coaches in the country, along with Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, to lead his team to five NCAA regional semifinal games (Sweet 16s) in six years (`02, '01, '00, '98, '97). As UCLA's head coach, his career record in the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament was 10-1. Lavin's winning percentage (90.9 percent) in the first two rounds of the tournament is second only to Dean Smith in NCAA Tournament history. In his inaugural season as head coach, Lavin directed the Bruins to the 1997 Pac-10 Championship and the NCAA Regional Final (Elite Eight).
In 2001, after the Bruins finished 23-9, Lavin was honored as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. He is the only head coach in NCAA men's basketball history to lead his team to victory over the No. 1 team in the country in four consecutive collegiate seasons (Arizona '03, Kansas '02, Stanford '01, Stanford '00). Lavin compiled a 12-4 record in contests involving overtime periods. Additionally Lavin's Bruins had a 10-4 record against the rival USC Trojans.
During his time as the head coach or as an assistant at both Purdue and UCLA, Lavin's teams qualified for 13 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances (1989-2002). Lavin was an assistant coach on the Bruins' 1995 national championship team that completed the season with a 32-1 record.
As the head coach at UCLA, Lavin recruited and signed the No. 1 rated recruiting class in the country in both 1998 and 2001. He totaled seven McDonald's High School All-Americans during his tenure. At least one of his former UCLA players or recruits was selected in the NBA draft for a run of 10 straight years (1997-2006). As a result, the Bruins own the longest national streak of any college or university for consecutive years with a NBA draft pick. Seven of Lavin's former Bruin recruits or players are currently members of NBA teams, including Trevor Ariza (Houston Rockets), Baron Davis (L.A. Clippers), Dan Gadzuric (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jason Kapono (Philadelphia 76ers).
Lavin's coaching career began in 1988 when he was hired as an assistant by Purdue mentor Gene Keady. In March of 2003, after 12 years on the UCLA staff, Lavin posted his first losing season as a head coach (10-19) and was relieved of his duties as head coach. Shortly thereafter, Lavin was signed to a multi-year contract with ESPN and ABC, where he has been serving as a nationally-renowned analyst on both game and studio broadcasts for "The Worldwide Leader in Sports."
Lavin served as a college basketball Analyst on ABC and ESPN for seven years, largely working alongside legendary broadcasting partner Brent Musburger. Lavin has provided color commentary and expertise on ESPN's coverage of the NBA Pre Draft Camp as well as the NBA Draft.
Lavin is frequently an invited keynote speaker throughout the country for business, community and collegiate events. He addresses a wide range of topics including effective communication, motivation, management, recruiting, leadership, and naturally, college basketball.
On August 17, 2007, Lavin was married to Mary Ann Jarou, a professional actress who has made television series appearances on "How I Met Your Mother," "General Hospital," "Entourage," "Brothers and Sisters," "Secret Girlfriend," and appropriately, "King of Queens." Lavin's father, Cap Lavin, was inducted into the San Francisco Prep Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992 and is a 1997 honoree of the University of San Francisco Hall of Fame. Cap Lavin was a three-time (1946-48) all-city performer at St. Ignatius High School, and went on to earn three varsity letters (1950-52) and serve as the basketball team's captain at the University of San Francisco. While at San Francisco, Cap Lavin played for two Naismith Hall of Fame coaches, Pete Newell (1949-50) and Phil Woolpert (1950-52). A collegiate guard, Newell has described Cap Lavin as a "ballhandler way ahead of his time, one of the great dribblers and passers in the game."
"We are pleased to have a coach with the distinguished career and success of Steve Lavin take over our men's basketball program," said St. John's University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. "This is an exciting day, not only for St. John's University, but for our alumni, supporters and fans. We look toward the future under Coach Lavin's direction as we take the steps necessary to propel our program back to the success it so richly deserves in the BIG EAST and among college basketball's elite."
One of the storied programs in the history of men's collegiate basketball, St. John's concluded the 2009-10 season as the seventh all-time winningest program in the NCAA Division I record book with 1,703 wins and 884 losses. The school's .658 winning percentage ranks ninth all-time in NCAA history, while St. John's 26 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances are tied for 20th. The program's 26 NIT appearances and five titles are also unprecedented. Helms Foundation national champions following the 1910-11 season, St. John's appeared in NCAA Final Fours in 1952 and 1985. The program boasts 11 consensus All-Americans, 59 NBA Draft choices and 45 players that have scored 1,000 career points or more.
The 2010-11 Red Storm squad returns five starters, 13 letterwinners and 94 percent of its scoring from a 2009-10 team that posted a 17-16 record.
Lavin's Year-by-Year Coaching Record