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Danny Hurley is one of the top candidates for the St. John's head coaching job

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Chris Mullin and Danny Hurley are the main candidates early in the coaching search.

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Johnnies' coaching search is suddenly in full swing.

After it was reported earlier this week that Steve Lavin and St. John's were close to an extension, the school and the five year head coach "mutually parted ways," leaving a program that has made the postseason four out of the last five years very bare.

Now the Johnnies must look for a new option quickly considering they need to fill out their roster with the recruiting and transfer period about to become a crazy commodity.

According to Adam Zagoria, there are a number of early candidates for the new opening, including St. John's alumnus Chris Mullin, but Danny Hurley's name is really intriguing considering his family history, connections on the Northeast and impressive college coaching success.

With Steve Lavin out at St. John's, sources told SNY.tv that Danny and former St. John's legend Chris Mullin will be the top two targets for the now-vacant Big East job, with Minnesota's Richard Pitino, Manhattan's Steve Masiello and Iona's Tim Cluess also on the radar. Bobby Hurley is not in the mix at St. John's at the moment.

Danny Hurley has turned two mid-major programs completely around - and fairly quickly. Mike Vaccaro hits it spot on, lobbying that Hurley is the right man to turn the program around.

Wagner was 5-26 in 2009-10; within two years, the Seahawks were 25-6, and Hurley was imported to Kingston, R.I., to have whack at a Rhode Island team that had fallen into distress at 7-24. The Atlantic 10 is a different monster than the Northeast Conference, nothing is turned around right away, yet in three years the Rams have improved to eight, 14 and this year 23 wins. And are set up to be an upper-division force for years to come.

The Hurley family has a great history in basketball as Danny's father, Bob, won 27 state titles at St. Anthony's High School in Jersey City. And Danny's brother, Bobby, won two NCAA Titles at Duke, was drafted in the 1st round of the NBA Draft and now is the head coach at Buffalo.

Danny began his coaching career as an assistant under his dad at St. Anthony's before building up St. Benedict's Prep as one of the strongest high school programs in the country. He is 83-72 overall in his college head coaching career and 305-92 overall (both high school and college).

The current University of Rhode Island head coach would bring a great ability to recruit, especially in the New York/New Jersey area where St. John's has struggled to land top players. He also would bring a sense of toughness and excitement to the program as an experienced, known name.

In the words of NJ.com's Steve Politi:

It is not known at this point whether Danny is interested in the job at St. John's though. Hurley led Rhode Island to the NIT this season and they will likely return sophomore's Hassan Martin and E.C. Matthews (who is a future pro) but according to SNY, he has always coveted the St. John's job.

This is just the beginning of what should be an interesting coaching search as the Johnnies are looking for stability atop a program that is looking to move forward for years to come.