Steve Lavin, an NCAA tournament regular in 12 seasons as coach at UCLA and St. John’s, was hired Wednesday night to take over the struggling program at San Diego.

Lavin, 57, replaces Sam Scholl, who was fired March 6 after the Toreros went 15-16 in a third straight losing season. San Diego has had just four winning seasons and one NCAA tournament appearance under three coaches since Brad Holland was fired after going 18-14 in 2006-07.

Athletic director Bill McGillis said Lavin had been a candidate since the beginning of the monthlong search process.

“I just think it’s a great alignment. I think under his leadership we have a chance to catapult to new heights,” said McGillis, who had dinner with Lavin near campus on Wednesday night.

Lavin was 145-78 at UCLA in seven seasons from 1996 to 2003. He took the Bruins to the Elite Eight in his first season and made four other Sweet 16 appearances. He was fired after UCLA went 10-19 in 2002-03, the only season he didn’t get the Bruins into the NCAAs.

photo courtesy of san diego twitter