Over the past ten years, Tim Cluess has turned Iona into one of the top basketball programs in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, and a consistent presence in the NCAA Tournament. But after ten years at the helm, it looks like Cluess is ready to call it quits.
On Friday, the Iona head coach announced that he is stepping down due to health reasons. Cluess has been dealing with an unspecified health issue for many months, and did not partake in activities with the team at the start of the season.
In an official statement Cluess thanked the college for its support during challenging times. He announced that he will have a new role with Iona “assisting the College in every way I can going forward.” Iona’s 2019-20 season ended in the quarterfinals of the MAAC Tournament in a narrow loss to Saint Peters. The NCAA basketball season was cancelled the next day.
“On behalf of my self and my family, I want to thank Gael Nation, including every student-athlete I had the honor to coach, for all their ever-present and vocal support,” Cluess said. “I am proud of what we’ve accomplished together and look forward to supporting the program in my new advisory role.”
Iona head coach Tim Cluess is stepping down to health reasons. pic.twitter.com/Kqa0dbNdik
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) March 13, 2020
A former guard at St. John’s and later Hofstra, Cluess’ coaching career began with a 15-year stint as the Saint Mary’s High School coach in 1991.
He would give college a try in 2005 with the head coaching job at Suffolk junior college, and was quickly hired by LIU Post in Division II. After four years, three conference titles and a 98-23 record, Division I basketball came calling.
Iona hired Cluess in 2010 and promptly had the team back to its winning ways.
After going 25-12 with a CIT runner-up finish in 2011, Cluess and his Gaels began an eight-year run of MAAC regular season or conference title victories. In those eight years, the Gaels made the NCAA Tournament six times, though never got out of the First Round.
Nevertheless, Cluess was consistently considered a candidate for bigger college jobs, including St. John’s.
We wish Tim Cluess the best in his future endeavors.