Frank Allocco, the head coach of powerhouse De La Salle High School (Calif.), has emerged as the “No. 1 contender” to replace assistant coach Mike Dunlap at St. John’s, a source tells NBCSports.com.
According to the source, there is “definite interest on both sides,” but the school has yet to draw anything up, as the university has been closed since Wednesday.
Allocco has been at De La Salle for 14 years and is a long-time friend of St. John’s head coach Steve Lavin.
As first reported by the New York Daily News, Lavin and Allocco met in San Francisco in late June. In an arranged meeting, the two discussed the possibility that Allocco could fill Dunlap’s spot on the staff.
NBCSports.com has learned Lavin then flew Allocco to New York last Saturday and Sunday and he was given a tour of the campus, meeting with staff and St. John’s brass. He returned home Sunday.
Others still in the mix for the St. John’s job are Gerald Madkins, Cameron Dollar, Paul Biancardi, Tim O’Toole, Tom Abatamarco, and Lane Odom.
Former assistant Mike Dunlap left to become the head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats last month, leaving St. John’s after two seasons with the team.
The void left on the Red Storm bench is large, as Lavin looks to replace one of the most highly regarded X’s and O’s coaches in the country. Allocco has a similar reputation as a disciplinarian, having led De La Salle to a 413-52 record over his time with the school.
St. John’s is coming off a season in which they finished 13-19, including 6-12 in the Big East. The Red Storm were historically young in 2011-12, but return all but one starter in addition to drawing a recruiting class that includes elite prospects JaKarr Sampson and Chris Obekpa.
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