It appears everything has come full circle for Iona head coach Tim Cluess in his working relationship with first year athletic director Rick Cole Jr.
The fourth-year head coach, prior to the MAAC tournament, agreed to a contract extension which runs his deal until the 2018-19 season.
“It’s just something my A.D. and people there worked on and thrilled to be there and knowing that I’ll be there longer,” Cluess said after Iona’s 94-71 victory over Rider. “Hopefully we can continue to do great things at Iona and build.”
Cluess, who won his first MAAC Coach of the Year honors on Friday, called the extension “special” considering last April he and the school “re-committed” to each other after rumors surfaced of jobs courting him.
“I really am finding a comfort zone at the school with all the people there, the fans and alumni,” Cluess said. “The people that work there have been great to us as a program, love the kids that are there, so I’m having a great time.”
The 1983 Hofstra graduate has made a living mostly on Long Island. He graduated St. Agnes high school in Rockville Centre before playing for St. John’s and Hofstra. Cluess lead St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset before leaving to take the job at Suffolk Community College, followed by Division II Long Island University before taking the Iona job.
“My family can be at everything, which is real important, don’t have to move anywhere with them,” Cluess said of the importance of the extension. “The kids are getting older, so I’m trying to look at the clock now of how many years do I have to make it to get my guys through college. That’s the most important thing and keeping a really good program out there.”
The fourth year coach acknowledged that he has known Cole Jr., who was previously the athletic director at Dowling on Long Island, for a long time.
“I almost worked for him once before, okay, the drive was too long though,” Cluess joked. “So I’m really happy to be working for him now.”
Cluess is 190-67 in four seasons at Iona.
Ryan Restivo covers the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the America East conference and Hofstra for Big Apple Buckets. You can follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanarestivo or contact Ryan at rrestivo[at]nycbuckets.com.