Steve Lavin out at St. John's after five up-and-down seasons

The Dagger
Steve Lavin out at St. John's after five up-and-down seasons
Steve Lavin out at St. John's after five up-and-down seasons

The marriage between Steve Lavin and St. John's ended amicably Friday following a week of speculation regarding the fifth-year coach's job status.

St. John's announced the two sides are mutually parting ways because they could not come to terms on a contract extension. 

“We thank Coach Lavin for his leadership and all of his contributions to the University,” St. John’s athletic director Chris Monasch said in a statement. “He infused excitement back into the program, brought us to the postseason four times and recruited student-athletes who excelled on the court, inside the classroom and within the community.”

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Lavin's tenure at St. John's will neither be remembered as a smashing success nor an abject failure because there were plenty of high and low points.

Among the positives: He ended the program's nine-year NCAA tournament drought in 2011 by leading a group of Norm Roberts holdovers to a No. 6 seed, he recruited the likes of Maurice Harkless, JaKarr Sampson and Rysheed Jordan to St. Johns and he reached the NCAA tournament a second time as a No. 9 seed this month.

Among the negatives: He went 2-8 in the postseason at St. John's, he never won an NCAA tournament game and recruiting began to tail off late in his tenure. He also took risks on talented prospects with checkered academic or behavioral histories, often leaving the Johnnies with a shorthanded roster when some of those didn't pan out.

The game that perhaps best sums up Lavin's tenure was his final one, an NCAA tournament loss to San Diego State last week. The Johnnies played incredibly hard for Lavin, especially after falling behind by double figures, but their effort was undone by too many ill-advised shots, too many turnovers and fatigue brought on by a lack of depth. 

When Lavin arrived at St. John's in 2011 after spending most of the previous eight years at ESPN, he spoke of getting St. John's back to where it was when it competed for Big East titles and Final Fours under Louie Carnesecca. 

"I wouldn't have taken the job unless I saw the great potential and the ability to elevate the program," Lavin told Yahoo Sports in 2011.

Lavin did elevate St. John's, but he could never get the Johnnies to where either he or his administration desired. That's why he is out of a job and the school is looking for a new coach. 

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Jeff Eisenberg is the editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at daggerblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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