With Rick Pitino and Billy Donovan staying at Louisville and Florida, respectively, the heat is on St. John's once again to find yet another name to add to its list of candidates to replace former head man Norm Roberts, and the Johnnies appear to be locked in on Georgia Tech's Paul Hewitt.
Hewitt, like Pitino and Donovan, is a local product for the Red Storm, having grown up on Long Island in the town of Westbury, and still has ties to several AAU coaches in the New York area. Hewitt led the Yellow Jackets to the national championship game in 2004, where Georgia Tech was defeated by a Connecticut team led by Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon, and the coach met with St. John's athletic director Chris Monasch last night in Atlanta.
No offer was extended to Hewitt during his meeting with Monasch, and a source close to the situation told SNY's Adam Zagoria that it was uncertain as to whether or not Monasch and Hewitt would meet again. Hewitt would be obligated to pay Georgia Tech a $3.4 million buyout should he take the job at St. John's, and a fallback candidate for the Johnnies should Hewitt stay at Georgia Tech would be Virginia Tech's Seth Greenberg, who has reportedly told his returning starters and prospective recruits that he will remain in Blacksburg as the leader of the Hokies.
Meanwhile, Seton Hall continues to be deliberate in its search for a successor to Bobby Gonzalez. The Bergen Record has already listed Siena's Fran McCaffery as the top candidate for the Pirates' head coaching vacancy, although other names such as Robert Morris coach Mike Rice, Richmond's Chris Mooney and Cornell's Steve Donahue have been linked to the job. The Newark Star-Ledger has also reported that Seton Hall athletic director Joe Quinlan will interview Vermont head coach Mike Lonergan today, just days after Lonergan led the Catamounts into the NCAA Tournament, where they were defeated by Syracuse.