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Lavin Back on Sideline, Where He Belongs

AP Photo

Steve Lavin spent only 13 minutes on an NCAA interview podium here Wednesday. In the old days, that was scarcely enough to clear his throat. But maybe he's a wiser coach now, a different guy from the one who headed UCLA a lifetime ago.

He's coach of the St. John's team that plays Gonzaga Thursday night here in the NCAA tournament, and though he's coaxed the Johnnies to great heights — six victories over top-25 teams — still, the question nags:

Has he settled on the optimum way to make a living?

"It's been a 23-year magic-carpet ride," he insists, and he meant the whole thing — coaching for Gene Keady at Purdue; getting the UCLA job at 32; charming audiences on ESPN for seven years; and now, scratching the coaching itch again in Queens, N.Y.

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