Iona coach Tim Cluess steps down to focus on health

Iona head coach Tim Cluess is stepping down because of health reasons, the school announced Friday.

Cluess went to six NCAA tournaments in his first nine seasons with the Gaels, but missed the entire 2019-20 season with an undisclosed health issue. The school said he will shift into an advisory role moving forward.

"I want to sincerely thank the Iona College community and administration for the opportunity to be a part of Gael Nation for the past 10 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 advisory role."

Iona won at least 20 games in each of Cluess' first eight seasons in New Rochelle, winning four regular-season MAAC championships and going to six NCAA tournaments. He won either the regular-season and conference tournament championship every season from 2012 to 2019. Cluess earned MAAC Coach of the Year honors in 2014 and 2019.

"We're extremely proud of Tim Cluess and how he represented our program over the last 10 years," athletic director Matthew Glovaski said. "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 contributor in an advisory role and remain an important part of the Iona family."

Associate head coach Tra Arnold was the interim head coach this past season with Cluess sidelined. Former assistant coach and current Bryant head coach Jared Grasso is expected to be among the candidates to replace Cluess, along with Saint Peter's head coach Shaheen Holloway, sources told ESPN.