C.W. Post basketball coach Tim Cluess will be named the head coach at Iona Thursday, officials at the New Rochelle campus said late Wednesday. Cluess was a surprise winner whose name surfaced after Fran Fraschilla withdrew his name from consideration. Iona sidestepped other Division I candidates to go with Cluess, one of the most successful Division II coaches in the country.
Cluess was in his fourth season at Post. His best season came in 2008-2009 when the Pioneers went 30-1, losing only to eventual national champion Findlay (Ohio) in the Elite Eight. Cluess was 98-23 at Post.
Cluess is well known on Long Island, where he coached at St. Mary's and won eight straight Catholic league titles. He also coached one season at Suffolk CC-Brentwood, where he took an injury depleted team to a fourth-place finish in the NJCAA nationals.
Cluess played college ball at St. John's and Hofstra and had a professional career in Europe and Australia.
"This is something that he worked for, this is to me a long time overdue,'' said Post assistant coach Bill O'Keefe, who also worked with Cluess at St, Mary's. "He can coach with anybody out there. I was with him five years at St. Mary's and for two years at C.W. Post. No matter where he goes, he wins.''
An athletic official at Iona said Cluess became a slam dunk candidate, despite his lack of Division I experience.
"His resume was there, it just stood out,'' the person said. "He won at St. Mary's, Suffolk and C.W. Post. The fact is that he has won at every level he's been at and has good New York ties. He had an unbelievable record at C.W. Post.
"We have a team that is built to win now. Now we are looking for a coach to win. He got in there [the interview] and said all the right things and had a great resume to boot.''
Cluess was not available for comment.