Chris Mullin stepped down as the head coach at St. John’s earlier this week.
Iona head coach Tim Cluess has now emerged as the frontrunner for the head coaching vacancy at St. John's, according to SI Now contributor Jon Rothstein.
Cluess, 60, has led Iona to six NCAA tournament appearances in the last eight years. He has compiled a 199–108 record while with the Gaels. Cluess played for the Red Storm from 1979-81 before transferring to Hofstra. His three brothers and sister also played at St. John’s.
Iona won the MAAC tournament in 2018-19 and secured a No. 16 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Gaels fell to North Carolina in the first round, finishing the season at 17–16.
Cluess is a candidate to replace Chris Mullin, who stepped down from his position as the head coach of St. John's on Monday. Mullin had been with the Red Storm since 2015. He finished with a 59–73 record at St. John's and led the team to the NCAA tournament this past season. The Red Storm lost to Arizona State in the First Four.
St. John’s began discussions with Cluess on Wednesday night, per reports.
Iona released a statement on Friday that said the school has not been contacted by St. John's or their representatives.
"Iona believes in Tim Cluess, invested considerably in time Cluess, and considers him to be family," officials said. "Tim Cluess is an incredible coach and person. He successfully lead our program on and off the court. Tim wins. Last year, Cluess and Iona entered into a significant long-term contract supporting his ability to eventually retire from Iona College. We are extremely proud of how Coach Cluess represents our program and our college."
Arizona State's Bobby Hurley was initially reported to be a frontrunner for the opening, but posted on Twitter that he was committed to the university, saying, "My family and I are proud to be Sun Devils and want to remain at Arizona State for a long time."
He continued: "We are in discussions to extend our agreement and I look forward to continuing to build our program for long-term success."
With Hurley out of the running, Cluess is believed to be the leading candidate for the position.