Tim Cluess
(AP Photo / Hans Pennink)

Tim Cluess appears to be the leading candidate to land the St. John’s head coaching gig, but Iona College wants to set the record straight.

Danny Small

Iona College’s Tim Cluess is one of the hottest names in college basketball right now. After leading the Gaels to their fourth-straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championships and NCAA Tournament berths, the head coach is attracting significant interest from St. John’s.

There were reports that Cluess and St. John’s were “informally talking” and now Iona released a statement (via Josh Newman of Asbury Park Press) in regards to the perceived interest from the Red Storm.

“There has been much speculation regarding St. John’s intentions to hire Iona College men’s basketball head coach Tim Cluess. Iona officials can confirm that as of 9:30 a.m. [Friday], they have not been contacted by St. John’s or their representatives.

“Iona believes in Tim Cluess, invested considerably in Tim Cluess, and considers him to be family. Tim Cluess is an incredible coach and person. He successfully leads our program on and off the court. Tim wins. Last year, Cluess and Iona entered into a significant long-term contract supporting his ability to eventually retire from Iona College.

“We are extremely proud of how Coach Cluess represents our program and our college.”

Of course, Iona is looking to assert themselves a little bit here. Cluess is still Iona’s head coach and they are letting St. John’s know that if the school wishes to talk to Cluess, the Johnnies must go through the proper channels.

St. John's Basketball

Cluess has been the best thing to happen to Iona basketball in a long time. It would be a huge blow to the program to lose him.

That being said, Cluess played for St. John’s before transferring to Hofstra. It’s hard to envision Cluess passing up the job if the opportunity is there.

Additionally, Bobby Hurley is affirming his commitment to Arizona State. That eliminates one strong candidate to replace Chris Mullin and thus, opens the door even further for Cluess.

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