Steve Lavin, Kevin Willard Look To Bring Big East Schools To Glory

Jesse KramerCorrespondent IApril 1, 2010

In the past few weeks, successful coaches have left their schools for better jobs, and the failing coaches have been fired. Here is a look some of the coaching changes that have taken place so far in 2010.


Kevin Willard (Iona) to Seton Hall

Kevin Willard brought a once prominent Iona program back to the top of the MAAC. Willard took over for Jeff Ruland in 2007, after the Gaels had a miserable and embarrassing 2-28 season.

Willard led Iona to third place in the MAAC and the school's first 20-win season since 2005-06. Willard finished his time with Iona with a 45-49 record. He has already had some experience in the Big East as an assistant for Rick Pitino. 

Willard was excited to take the job at Seton Hall, but might have some trouble next season. Herb Pope, Jeff Robinson, and Jeremy Hazell have all declared for the NBA Draft. However, none of them hired agents and could still opt to come back to school.

With Bobby Gonzalez, Seton Hall already received commitments from Fuquan Edwin, Eugene McCory, and Jamir Hammer. While at Iona, Willard received commitments from Darius Leonard and David Laury. No information has been disclosed about the current recruiting situation at Seton Hall since Willard arrived.


Steve Lavin (Unemployed) to St. John's

Steve Lavin posted a 145-78 record with UCLA before being fired. Since then, Lavin has been a college basketball analyst at ESPN and has not been coaching at the college level. 

Lavin is extremely enthusiastic about coaching St. John's in Madison Square Garden. He even has hope of bringing St. John's back to the NCAA Tournament in 2011.


Tom Pecora (Hofstra) to Fordham

Tom Pecora will have a tough role in Fordham next season. The Fordham Rams have only won five games in the last two seasons.

After former coach Dereck Whittenburg was fired midseason, star guard Jio Fontan left school to transfer to USC. 

After making the NCAA Tournament and posting a 26-4 record in his first year with Hofstra, Pecora never brought the Pride back to the NCAA Tournament.

However, Pecora has still had four 20-win seasons since then. In 2010, Hofstra finished 18-15, losing in the first round of the CBI to IUPUI. Pecora finished his term with Hofstra with a 181-130 overall record.

For recruiting, the Rams had received verbal commitments from Jayon James, Sean Armand, and Danny Lawhorn. No news has been announced about whether these recruits will play at Fordham for Pecora next season. 


Tim Welsh (Unemployed) to Hofstra

With the Hofstra job open, Tim Welsh jumped at the opportunity to get back into the coaching business. Welsh has already had success with small schools in New York. Welsh was the head coach of Iona for three seasons from 1995-1998.

He made the postseason in all three of those years and finished in first place in the MAAC every season.

Welsh has some New York connections and could definitely bring Hofstra back to the top of the CAA.


Fran McCaffery (Siena) to Iowa

Fran McCaffery had the option of taking the job at Seton Hall. However, he turned down the offer from the Pirates and chose to make a move out to Iowa City, Iowa.

McCaffery is already somewhat famous after bringing Siena to the NCAA Tournament in three straight seasons. McCaffery went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2009. He has taken three different teams to the NCAA Tournament (Lehigh, UNC Greensboro, Siena).

Former Iowa coach Todd Lickliter was set to bring in a very good recruiting class for next season. All of the recruits are from the Midwest. McCaffery's recruiting generally stayed no farther west than Pennsylvania.

He will have to work hard this offseason to keep this recruiting class.


Tony Barbee (UTEP) to Auburn

In four years at UTEP, Tony Barbee brought the Miners to the top of Conference USA. UTEP made an appearance in a postseason tournament in each of the last three years. Barbee took the Miners to the NCAA Tournament in 2010. 


Tim Floyd (Unemployed) to UTEP

Tim Floyd has done well at every school he has coached. Floyd never took Idaho State to the postseason, but in his second season, he had it back at the top of the Big Sky Conference.

Floyd then went to New Orleans for six seasons, where he brought his team to the postseason in five seasons. Floyd took a job at Iowa State where he won a game in the NCAA Tournament in three straight seasons. In 2005, Floyd went to USC for four seasons. 

After a year off from coaching, Floyd will return to UTEP, where he was an assistant coach from 1977-1986.


Corliss Williamson (Assistant at Arkansas Baptist) to Arkansas State

Former NBA forward Corliss Williamson has taken a job 45 miles away from his hometown at Arkansas State. Williamson looks to play an up-tempo, full-court pressure style of basketball. 

Arkansas State will be returning all of its stars for the 2010-11 season. 


Schools That Have Vacant Head Coaching Positions


Al Skinner fired from Boston College

After 13 years in Boston, Boston College has let go of Al Skinner.

As of now, the head coaching position is still open, but some candidates have been announced. It has been reported that Steve Donahue (Cornell), Chris Mooney (Richmond), Ed Cooley (Fairfield), Bill Coen (Northeastern), and Tommy Amaker (Harvard) are all candidates for the position at Boston College.


Kevin Willard left Iona for Seton Hall

Kevin Willard ended a quick, three-year stint with Iona for a job at Seton Hall. The Iona job remains open. Fran Fraschilla is the only person who has expressed interest in the job in New Rochelle, New York. 


Fran McCaffery left Siena for Iowa

Fran McCaffery departed from Siena after a successful five year campaign in Loudonville.

The announced candidates for the Siena job are Mitch Bounaguro (Siena assistant), Bill Coen (Northeastern), Steve Donahue (Cornell), and Cliff Warren (Jacksonville). There have also been unconfirmed reports of former St. John's coach Norm Roberts being a candidate for the job.


Check back for more updates on college basketball's coaching changes.