STORM WARNING: St. John’s interviews Steve Lavin, but the Red Storm should just talk to some Bruin fans
More proof that the East Coast doesn’t really watch West Coast games: The St. John’s Red Storm is considering ex-Bruin Head Coach Steve Lavin for their current Head Coaching vacancy. St. John’s might not have the History and expectations of UCLA, but it is in New York City, where Lavin will not be able to avoid intense Media scrutiny. And that microscope will reveal what most Bruin fans will tell you emphatically: Despite the repeated Sweet 16 appearances, Lavin is not an Elite Coach. And that’s if you find some really merciful fans.
The UCLA fans who seem to reside on the Internet will tell you that Lavin is one of the worst Coaches in the History of UCLA, if not the whole NCAA. They’ll say that he single-handedly destroyed the most storied program of All Time. You’ll read that Lavin had some talent-laden rosters that played with no discipline or fundamentals, and that some of those Sweet 16 runs ended way before they should have. And then there was a certain 41-point loss.
I was not one of the people calling for his head for years — just at the end. The Stanford fiasco was the one time where I gave up on him, but he did avenge that, shockingly. But there was no doubt that he did not have the respect of his players, and that he lacked the control needed by a College Head Coach. His teams lacked structure and court sense, and despite his smooth and likable personality, his Coaching resume just wasn’t the best UCLA could do. There is also some question about his ability and desire to hire quality Assistants.
In reference to Coaching in the East, Lavin says that he’ll hire aggressive, well-connected Eastern Assistants, and with smart comments like that, maybe he can win over the Red Storm fans. But if the St. John’s brass were to spend a few hours polling UCLA fans about what they think of Lavin, there is no way that they could hire him. People around here can’t stand the guy. Actually, the “guy” is fine; It’s the “Coach” who’s not worthy, in the eyes of frustrated Bruin fans. Why would a school want to hire someone who is so widely disliked by his previous fanbase?
My opinion of him may not be quite as harsh as the average Bruin fan, but I’d be surprised if his image and reputation led to good recruiting on the East Coast. However, he has the ESPN connection, he tends to “let his players play,” and he does have a knack for motivating a team to huge upsets and monster performances (as well as the way-too-often clunkers), so maybe he will surprise a lot of people… IF he gets hired.
Below, as promised, are 16 UCLA Dance Team AND Cheer Squad photos, all from the last UCLA/Cal Football game. It’s just amazing how many pretty decent shots I have “leftover” from each game, which didn’t get posted in the post-game articles. I can keep doing this all summer. Don’t forget: These photos look much better when you FREE them from the shackles of shrinkage: CLICK on them to expand them to their true size (which is still smaller than my originals, but much bigger than the quasi-thumbnails that appear at first). Also, if you place your mouse on a photo, a hidden caption should pop up, with today’s captions mostly relating to the Legend of Lav.