Former St. John’s head coach and SNY college basketball analyst Norm Roberts has accepted an assistant coaching position to join Billy Donovan’s staff at the University of Florida.
“Being from New York, I’ve known Norm for a long time,” Donovan told the Daily News. “He’s an outstanding coach, he’s a great recruiter, has high character and integrity and I’m thrilled to have him on our staff here at Florida.”
Roberts, who spent six seasons as the Johnnies head man from 2004-2010, compiled a record of 81-101, with his best season coming in 2009-2010, when the Red Storm finished 17-16 (6-12 in the Big East). That season also saw St. John’s lone post-season appearance under Roberts, when the Johnnies lost to Memphis in the opening round of the NIT Tournament.
Hired in 2004, Roberts is credited with turning around a program that was nearly in shambles following the departure of previous head coach Mike Jarvis. The nine graduating seniors, who were the core of this season’s NCAA Tournament team, were recruited under Roberts and are all on track to graduate in the coming weeks.
Prior to his stint at the helm of the St. John’s program, Roberts was the head coach of his alma mater, Queens College for four seasons. In 1995, he began his career as a Division 1 assistant coach, taking a job at Oral Roberts under current Kansas coach Bill Self, following Self to Tulsa, until making his way to high-major college basketball at Illinois, once again under Self. After Self took the head coaching job at Kansas, Roberts served under him for one season, in 2003-2004.
Wherever Roberts has gone as an assistant, he has had a reputation as a strong recruiter, having a hand in bringing in such future NBA players as Dee Brown and Deron Williams at Illinois and J.R. Giddens at Kansas.
Roberts will come to a team that finished 29-8 (13-3 in the SEC) and lost to Butler in the Elite 8. The team will be losing key seniors Chandler Parsons and Alex Tyus, but are adding McDonald’s All-American shooting guard Bradley Beal in this year’s incoming recruiting class.