NEW YORK (AP) - St. John's coach Norm Roberts will return next season to finish his current contract, and athletic director Chris Monasch said Friday he will meet with the fourth-year coach after the season to pursue an extension.
The Red Storm (10-17, 4-11) enter Saturday's home game with Seton Hall one game out of the 12th and final berth for the Big East tournament. St. John's went to the conference tournament last year for the first time under Roberts, concluding a 16-15 season, the only winning one in his tenure.
``In recent weeks there has been speculation regarding the status of Norm Roberts' future as head men's basketball coach at St. John's University,'' Monasch said a statement. ``Most of those comments focused on the pace of progress measured solely by wins. Our assessment of what Norm and his staff have accomplished over the past four years is broader than that. ...
``I felt it was important to make this announcement at this time so that our coaches and players can focus on the last three games of the season as we attempt to qualify for the Big East championship tournament. Also, it is important for recruits who are in the process of making decisions to know that Norm Roberts will be the coach at St. John's University.''
The Red Storm went 9-18 in Roberts' first season and 12-15 in his second. His record at St. John's is 47-65, including 19-44 in the Big East.
St. John's, which has eight freshmen playing this season, concludes the regular season at No. 17 Notre Dame on Wednesday and at home against West Virginia on March 8.
Roberts was an assistant at Kansas when he took over at St. John's following the 2003-04 season, when Mike Jarvis was fired in December and Kevin Clark finished the season as interim coach. St. John's is finishing a two-year probation for NCAA violations from that time.
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