According to The Sporting News, State
has offered Steve Lavin the job. Supposedly a contract is being
hammered out, but there's no indication that Lavin has accepted the job yet.
However, John DeLong says everything
points to West Virginia's John Beilein, although his $3 million buyout could
still cause problems.
If it is Lavin, what's going to be interesting is to see how this will go
over with the State fan base. Rick Barnes was the goal, and then John
Calipari was an attractive alternative. Derek Whittenburg is a young coach with
State ties and an undeniable appeal to many. But Lavin?
Lavin became head coach at UCLA after Jim Harrick got fired for some funny
business involving falsifying expense reports. Harrick to his credit
refused to lie about it and ended up with the job.
He was reasonably successful at UCLA (145-78), but not by UCLA standards, and
after his last team flamed out, he was told before the end of the season that he
would be let go.
At the end of his time there, the fan base dissolved and attendance
dipped. Lavin had to endure a constant barrage of speculation as everyone
from Rick Pitino on down was tied to the job before he was finally axed.
He did make the Elite Eight on one occasion, but otherwise didn't get past
the Sweet Sixteen.