Steve Lavin flashed his trademark smile and TV-ready looks at the cameras, and with that the New York college basketball landscape changed.
Though Lavin will hold his official news conference this afternoon at St. John's, the former UCLA coach-turned ESPN broadcaster met informally with the New York media during last night's NIT semifinals at the Garden.
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Lavin said his desire to coach again grew gradually over the past year and a half, but he wanted to wait until he found the "right fit." And that fit just happened to be the Red Storm.
Lavin said his decision to accept St. John's offer was "multifaceted.
"The great history, the tradition, New York City, Madison Square Garden, the outstanding recruiting base ... There were so many pluses," he said.
But before he can recruit, Lavin said his first priority will be assembling a staff - one that he hopes will be comprised of coaches who have strong recruiting ties in the Northeast, particularly within the Big East and ACC.
Lavin also praised former St. John's coach Norm Roberts for the job he did in his six seasons with the team.
"Norm really stabilized things," he said. "My job is to move the ball forward; build on that momentum."