Iona coach Tim Cluess resigns after 10 seasons to focus on health

Tim Cluess’ time leading Iona has officially come to a close.

Cluess stepped down as the head coach at Iona on Friday, the school announced. He had been with the program for 10 seasons, though missed all of last year with an undisclosed health issue.

He is planning to shift into an advisory role.

“I want to sincerely thank the Iona College community and administration for the opportunity to be a part of Gael Nation for the past ten years,” Cluess said in a statement. “I appreciate the concern and care that the Iona Community, in particular Dr. Carey, has demonstrated for me and my family over the past few months as I have been dealing with a complicated health issue that kept me from coaching.

“I look forward to my new role and assisting the College in every way I can going forward. On behalf of myself and my family, I want to thank Gael Nation, including every student-athlete I had the honor to coach, for all their ever-present and vocal support. I am proud of what we've accomplished together and look forward to supporting the program in my new advisory role."

Cluess took over with the Gaels at the start of the 2010-11 season, and compiled a 211-125 overall record while winning at least 20 games in his first eight seasons. He won the MAAC regular season title four times and won the conference tournament five times during his tenure, and reached the NCAA tournament on six different occasions — including his last four seasons leading the team.

The two-time MAAC Coach of the Year missed all of the 2019-20 season with an undisclosed health issue. Associate head coach Tra Arnold was the interim coach in his place, and led the team to a 12-17 record. 

It is unclear what Cluess’ health issue is specifically. 

According to ESPN, Bryant coach Jared Grasso and Saint Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway are expected to be among candidates for the Iona job. According to Forbes’ Adam Zagoria, former Louisville and Kentucky coach Rick Pitino is also a top contender. 

“We're extremely proud of Tim Cluess and how he represented our program over the last ten years,”  athletic director Matthew Glovaski said in a statement. “He elevated Iona men's basketball and put us into the national spotlight on an annual basis. I want to recognize Coach's resilience in dealing with a complicated health situation that kept him off the court this last season. We will continue to support Tim and his family as he manages his health matter and are very happy he will continue to contribute in an advisory role and remain an important part of the Iona family.”

Tim Cluess missed all of the 2019-20 season with an undisclosed health issue. (AP/Hans Pennink)

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