The former UCLA head coach had been broadcasting for ESPN but he decided to take the head coaching job at St. John’s. The Red Storm has not done much in recent seasons in Internet betting and Lavin will be expected to turn things around.
Online betting odds are focused right now in college hoops on the NCAA Tournament and the NIT. The NIT is held at Madison Square Garden in New York and that is where St. John’s plays their games. "Having come here as an assistant coach and then a head coach at UCLA and then as a broadcaster, I have a sense and feel for how special an arena it is, it is the world's biggest stage for college basketball," Lavin said.
Lavin coached at UCLA but was fired in 2003. He has been an analyst for ESPN ever since. Many in Internet betting wonder whether he is ready for the grind of college basketball again. "For starters, the 15 years at Purdue and UCLA as a coach allowed me to build the foundation for my second career as a broadcaster," he said. "The last seven years as a broadcaster allowed me to travel the country as a barnstormer with my partner, observing and studying different styles, different coaches, aspects of game preparation, the game itself sitting courtside, breaking down tape, the scouting reports.”
UCLA was 145-78 under Lavin. He led the team to the Sweet Sixteen a total of five times. Online betting stats noted that he led them to the Elite Eight in 1997. St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch said that Lavin would be a good fit for the program.
Lavin replaces Norm Roberts who was fired after six seasons. St. John’s has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2002. St. John’s lost to Memphis in online betting in the first round of the NIT. Roberts was 81-101 with St. John’s.
St. John’s could have some immediate online betting success next year. They return all five of their starters. Lavin will be focused on hiring assistant coaches. "That's my No. 1 priority," he said. "I want assistants who are strong in the Northeast with recruiting ties and I want to look for people who have had experience as a head coach."