Steve Lavin has a good idea how he will feel when he works his first game as an NCAA Tournament analyst for CBS/Turner next week.
It will be the way he felt in his first visit to the event as an assistant coach at Purdue: “awe.”
“It’s similar to that feeling, first time as an assistant, first time as a head coach [at UCLA], but now the first time as a broadcaster,” he said. “It’s that maiden voyage. I’m just honored, humbled, eager to participate in what my view is maybe the greatest sports event in the world.”
Lavin, 52, will work with Ian Eagle at one of the first- and second-round sites and has plenty of TV experience.
He worked for ESPN in the seven years between leaving UCLA and taking over the St. John’s program in 2010.
And since parting ways with St. John’s two years ago, he has worked for Fox and the Pac-12 Network.
Lavin said the past two years have allowed him to stay involved in basketball while having more time in the offseason to spend with his family, including his 85-year-old mother in San Francisco. Lavin lives in Venice, California.
“It’s really an ideal kind of balance,” he said.
But might he be open to returning to the head coach grind again?
“If it was the right fit,” he said. “It’s similar to the last go-round. With St. John’s, I knew we could elevate it and get back to postseasons and NCAAs. People forget there wasn’t a lot of interest in that job. It was ideal for me because I could see the potential. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t be vying for postseasons on an annual basis.
“But I wasn’t in a rush. That’s why I stayed seven years at ESPN. I was learning from Brent [Musburger], who was a great mentor. I was enjoying the time with my family. And also it was like a sabbatical. You get that wider-angle lens and prism to look at the game through, and you’re bringing that back to the broadcast.
“And if you return to coaching you bring that with you as well. So if it was the right fit in terms of being able to elevate a program and win, I’d strongly consider returning.”