Last weekend might have been a bigger recruiting weekend than we thought for St. John's basketball. Steve Lavin's search for an assistant coach to replace the tactical and schematic skill of the departed Mike Dunlap has led the coach back to his California roots for a hot candidate.
Frank Allocco, the longtime and successful head coach of the Concord, CA, De La Salle High School in the Bay Area, has emerged as the leading candidate for the job, according to the NY Daily News, Zagsblog, and the New York Post. (Since all three outlets have received the news, we know there must be serious interest from St. John's.)
Allocco, 58, would be a slightly outside-of-the-box hire as a career high school coach. But he seems to be well-regarded as a clinician, just as coaches like the aforementioned Tom Abatemarco and Tim Grgurich are. For a team with seven newcomers and a lot of development ahead, could Coach Allocco be the right choice for the Red Storm?
Allocco is a 58-year old graduate of Notre Dame, where he lettered in basketball and football, slightly overlapping with Joe Montana - Frank Allocco was the man behind center during the "Rudy" play. In basketball, he played under Digger Phelps.
He has been a successful high school level coach in California, per his website, racking up 14 league titles in 14 years and a 216-6 league record, 413-52 overall at De La Salle.
Per the newspapers, Steve Lavin tried to recruit Allocco in 2010, when he accepted the St. John's job. Lavin spoke to the coach last week while in California, visiting his father and taking in the Giants/ Dodgers game; New Jersey native Frank Allocco expressed interest and was already scheduled to come east for a visit. Lavin entertained him for dinner, and introduced him to the rest of the Johnnies' staff and administration last weekend.
And much like Mike Dunlap, Coach Allocco seems intense but funny, and remains fit, lifting weights with his teams. A few stories, and Allocco on relationship building in the video below:
Allocco instructing a communication drill and "coaching perfection".
The Rumble will continue to track the developments of the coaching search.
What are your thoughts on the idea of Lavin hiring a successful, veteran high school coach to aid with the tactical aspects of the Red Storm attack?