More than fifty years have passed since Lou Carnesecca first
stepped onto St. John's University's campus. He has come to
symbolize the spirit of excellence and service that moved the
Vincentian Fathers to found St. John's 134 years ago.
As an educator, Carnesecca urged his players to challenge
themselves on and off the court. As a member of St. John's
community, he contributes his time and talents to educational,
cultural and humanitarian causes on and off-campus.
Living the St. John's Mission
As Special Assistant to Father Donald J. Harrington, C.M.,
President of St. John's, Carnesecca represents the University at
major events on and off-campus. In this capacity, he speaks on
behalf of higher education in general and Catholic education in
He also works closely with University offices to strengthen
St. John's historic ties to the neighborhoods, businesses and
cultural institutions of New York. Carnesecca also chairs
the Advisory Board of the Italian Cultural Center, a
University organization that celebrates
Italian-American contributions to civic life in
the city and its suburbs.
It is the University's mission of service to the needy that
Carnesecca particularly supports. He often takes part in the
University's efforts to feed the needy at soup kitchens in Downtown
Brooklyn. Providing support in every sense, the Coach sustains the
mission of the University's founders - or as he often says, "the
good Vincentian Fathers."
Carnesecca has been honored by the Italian government, which
bestowed on him the title of "Cavaliere," Italy's highest honor. In
addition, he was twice honored by the Supreme Lodge of the Order of
the Sons of Italy in America, which presented him with its annual
Passing the Legacy to a New
Carnesecca's dedication to student-athletes from New York City
fueled the success of St. John's basketball team for nearly half a
century. Today, that legacy continues in the work of Norm Roberts,
St. John's new men's basketball coach, who won his first game with
St. John's on Sunday, Nov. 20, against Wagner College at
Alumni Hall. The score was 79-68.
Like Carnesecca, Roberts believes home-grown talent is
vital to St. John's strength as a basketball power. Also like
Carnesecca, Roberts is a born-and-bred New Yorker. The Queens
native began his career coaching at Queens College and Archbishop
Molloy High School. Before coming to St. John's, he served as
Associate Head Coach at the University of Kansas.
"Coaching at St. John's is something I've always wanted,"
Roberts recently observed. "When I was a kid, I always followed St.
John's basketball. In those days, Lou Carnesecca was on the
sidelines [at St. John's], and that's where I dreamed of
As Roberts helped to honor Carnesecca on Tuesday,
November 23, he represented the new generation of St. John's
basketball - as proud, as talented and as emblematic of the
University and the city as the program was during the days of
Freeman, Lapchick and Carnesecca.
The story continues... View our 2004-2005 men's basketball schedule