For nearly 100 years, St. John's University has carried a proud
tradition in intercollegiate athletics.
St. John's started its intercollegiate program in 1907 with its
men's basketball program. In the early days, the "Wonder Five" led
that program to prominence. In 1923, a football program was started
and that program won three Metropolitan Conference Championships in
its first eight years of existence.
It was around that time that then-director of athletics and
football coach Ray Lynch had his players wear red uniforms in
games. The local media picked up on it, and dubbed the St. John's
athletic teams, the Red Men.
James "Buck" Freeman graduated from St. John's in 1927, and was
named men's basketball coach, guiding that team for nine years and
compiling a 177-31 record. During his time, he guided the famed St.
John's "Wonder Five" to an 88-8 record in his first four seasons
and brought the University to national prominence.
Walter McLaughlin took over as director of athletics during a
time when the St. John's baseball program established itself as one
of the best in the country, reaching the College World Series in
1949, 1960, 1966 and 1968. Three of those baseball teams were
coached by Jack Kaiser, who later became athletic director in 1973.
Kaiser served in that role until 1995, during which time the
University added a women's program in the 1974-75 academic year,
with women's basketball, fencing, swimming and tennis being
The program continued to develop and change-including a new
nickname, the Red Storm, in the early '90s-to this day. St. John's
has established its athletic programs as one of the strongest in
the East, and today, the programs continue to succeed.