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St. John's Reportedly Progressing Toward Coaching Hire

A closeup of St. Johns mascot.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 1: Mascot Johnny the Thunderbird of the St. John's Red Storm cheers on the court prior to the game against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Madison Square Garden on February 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)

St. John's has a head coaching vacancy after Chris Mullin stepped down following his fourth season at the helm. Mullin, a St. John's legend, reached the NCAA Tournament this season after three losing campaigns.

Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley was reported to be the top target for the Red Storm, but a new report names a more local option: Iona's Tim Cluess.'s J.P. Pelzman says St. John's negotiations with Cluess are "gaining steam." A deal could be close.

The 60-year-old Cluess played at St. John's and Hofstra and has extensive ties to the New York area. He was a highly-successful high school coach at St. Mary's in Manhasset, N.Y. from 1991 to 2005 before becoming the head coach at Suffolk Community College.

Cluess spent one year at Suffolk before winning 98 games in four seasons at LIU Post, a Division II program. He made two NCAA Division II tournaments in that span, reaching the Elite Eight in 2009.

Since being hired at Iona in 2010, Cluess has made the postseason all nine years. He's reached the NCAA Tournament six times, the NIT twice and finished as the runner-up in the CBI once.

Under Cluess, Iona has won five MAAC Tournament titles and four regular season crowns.