After Porter Moser and Tim Cluess withdrew their names, here's who is still in the mix to coach St. John's.
St. John's men's head coach Chris Mullin stepped down last week after four seasons with the program, leaving the school searching for a replacement.
But the search has dragged on as multiple candidates have turned down the position, and the job remains the last major coaching vacancy in men's college hoops. The latest to turn down the job is Iona's Tim Cluess, who took his name out of consideration Thursday. Loyola-Chicago head coach Porter Moser declined to take the job earlier this week. UMBC coach Ryan Odom was also linked to the position, but the school's athletic director dispelled those rumors Wednesday.
The search has been compared to UCLA's long journey to find a new head coach, which finally ended last week with the hiring of former Cincinnati skipper Mick Cronin. The Bruins swung and missed on multiple big-name candidates, including Kentucky's John Calipari, TCU's Jamie Dixon and Tennessee's Rick Barnes. Barnes discussed the Bruins' offer candidly this week, saying he probably would have gone to UCLA had the school ponied up to pay his buyout.
Both esteemed basketball programs haven't had success in a while. UCLA last reached the Final Four in 2008 and last won a national title in 1995. St. John's made the NCAA tournament this season for the first time since 2015, but hasn't advanced past the Sweet 16 since 1999. The Red Storm have been to the NCAA tournament eight times since 1992.
As big names continued to turn down the St. John's position, prominent booster Mike Repole, a 1991 alumnus, said the search was a "national embarrassment" and called the culture at the school "toxic," blaming the administration for the state of the basketball program as it searches for a new coach.
So who is still in the mix to coach the Red Storm? Breaking down some names getting buzz:
According to CBS Sports' Matt Norlander, Jones interviewed Thursday. The 55-year-old Jones has been at Yale since 1999 and gone 310–273, reaching the NCAA tournament twice, incluing this year. He was the Ivy League Coach of the Year in both 2015 and 2016. Before going to Yale as head coach, he worked as an assistant at Ohio, Yale and Albany.
Norlander reported Anderson is a candidate of interest. Anderson, 59, is coming off eight seasons as the head coach at Arkansas. He was 169–102 during his time and has reached the second round of the NCAA tournament twice. This season, the Razorbacks reached the second round of the NIT. He was dismissed this season. He's also worked at Missouri and UAB as head coach, bringing a relentess full-court press that invoked legendary coach Nolan Richardson’s 40 Minutes of Hell in Fayetteville.
According to Norlander, Boynton's name is still in the mix as well. The current head coach at Oklahoma State has been with the program since 2017. The 37-year-old has gone 33–35 in two seasons with the Cowboys, leading them to the NIT quarterfinals in 2018. Boynton played college basketball at South Carolina before transitioning to a career in coaching. He's also worked for Wofford, South Carolina and Stephen F. Austin.
Pitino reportedly reached out to St. John's about the vacancy, telling the New York Times' Adam Zagoria via text that he "would bring St. John's to the Elite level not seen since Louie (Lou Carnesecca) roamed the sidelines." St. John's doesn't appear to have gone after the coach. Pitino coached Louisville for over 15 seasons before he was fired in October 2017 amid a federal investigation into corruption. He went 293–140 with the Cardinals. His 2013 national championship was vacated amid an escort scandal.
CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein reported Hewitt has emerged as a candidate. Hewitt, 55, is currently a scout for Los Angeles Clippers. He's the former head coach at Siena, Georgia Tech and George Mason. In his most recent job with George Mason, Hewitt went 66–67 in four seasons through 2015. At Georgia Tech, Hewitt went 190–162 with NCAA tournament appearances.