Sean McAloon’s first coaching job was as a volunteer assistant coach at Randolph-Macon College.

But in order to pay the bills, he had to find a job that actually paid.

“I had a horrible job at Abercrombie & Fitch,” he said. Before the mall opened, “I would go in and organize pants or dress mannequins. It was very humbling, is probably the best way to put it. But I needed the money and it was what I had to do.”

After he finished at the store, McAloon — who was hired Wednesday as the new basketball coach at St. John’s — would head back to Randolph-Macon.

“They threw me into the fire,” said McAloon, who was a four-year letterwinner and two-year captain for the Yellow Jackets before graduating in 1998. “I’d do all the paperwork, then go to practice and work with the big men and then at night go recruit and in the morning go back to Abercrombie & Fitch.”

McAloon was hired the next year as a full-time assistant and spent three years in all at Randolph-Macon. Then he went to Bucknell for two years as an assistant before leaving the business, worried that the job was too consuming and would not leave enough time for family.

He moved to Louisville and got into medical sales for 11 / 2 years before returning to coaching at Benedictine College Prep in Richmond. In seven seasons there, he guided the Cadets to a 172-54 mark, including a 28-7 record this past season and the team’s fifth invitation in seven years to the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg, Md. Between that tournament, the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association playoffs (which have included games with Paul VI Catholic and O’Connell) and regular season games, McAloon, 35, believes he has coached against every Washington Catholic Athletic Conference member except Carroll.

St. John’s wants “to move themselves to the top of the conference and I think the resources are there to do so,” McAloon said. “I’m a competitive person. It’s the best conference in the country, everybody recognizes that. I want to test myself and see what it’s like on a night-in, night-out basis.”