February 05, 2010
On Tuesday, February 2, 2010 nearly 200 alumni and friends
gathered at Jameson's in Floral Park, Long Island for a special
reception. What made this event unique was the presence of
Hall of Fame Coach Lou Carnesecca '50C, '60GEd, '00HON and many
members of legendary St. John's men's basketball teams, including
players from the 1985 team that brought college basketball alive in
New York by advancing to the NCAA Final Four.
Joining Coach Carnesecca were such legendary former players and
Frank Alagia '76SVC
Mel Davis '75CBA
Richard Jackson '69C
Pete LaMantia '72Ed
Felipe Lopez '98SVC
Coach Brian Mahoney
Chris Mullin '98CBA
Terence Mullin '93CBA
Ron Rutledge '84SVC
Bill Schaeffer '73CBA
"It's just a wonderful feeling to be back with these guys again,"
said an exuberant Carnesecca, who spent the entire evening
surrounded by well-wishers and autograph seekers. "These
former players are wonderful guys and real St. John's men in every
sense. The years pass too quickly, and it's great for all of
us to be together again."
Carnesecca's obvious affection for his former players was
matched by their deep admiration and respect for the man who was,
and still is, so much more than a coach to them. "St. John's
has always been family to me, and it still is today," noted Chris
Mullin. "Coach Carnesecca made it that way. I've known
him since I was 11 years old, and our relationship gets stronger
every year. It's wonderful to be back here tonight with Coach
[Carnesecca] and see some of the people I haven't seen in a long
"It's a beautiful thing for me to come back and see the guys
again," agreed Walter Berry. "The young guys on the current
[men's basketball] team are great, and if there's anything that I
can do to help them succeed in any way, I'm here for them.
I'm so happy to be back and be around Lou Carnesecca again."
Pete LaMantia '72Ed played basketball for St. John's from 1969 to
1971 and frequently returns for events at alma mater. This
one, however, was particularly special for him. "I've been to
a lot of St. John's functions and tonight it's absolutely great to
come back and see Coach [Carnesecca], one of my favorite people of
all time. St. John's has a great history and I'm proud to be
a part of such a wonderful university. Coach took me as a
high school player and gave me a chance to become a part of the St.
John's family. I'll always be grateful to him for
Georgeann DiGangi '88SVC recalled what it was like to be a
student when the basketball team was headed to the Final
Four. "I was a sophomore back then, and believe me, it was
craziness and it was great. The parking lots were jammed with
news cameras and there were reporters doing interviews and
photographers taking pictures all over campus. I was a big
St. John's basketball fan then and still am today. It's great
to see these guys again, and it's wonderful that we're all a part
of the St. John's family."
Alumni enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with old friends while
sharing memories of their student days on campus.
"St. John's has done a lot for me," said Mark Barisic '94CBA.
"I came to St. John's because I knew that they had a Business
program that was respected by all of the big companies, and it
still is today. I got a wealth of knowledge and growth from
the University. I participated in the Executive-In-Residence
Program and through that connection I was given an internship that
developed into a full-time job as a manager with Price Waterhouse.
When I heard about this event tonight, I just had to come."
"I'm here because St. John's has always meant so much to me,"
agreed Joseph Dujmic '01CPS. "The University really got me
started in my career, and it's so nice for me to be able to give
back. And Coach Carnesecca is such an amazing individual that
I couldn't miss an event like this."
Ron Guzas '68C was a student manager for both the men's
basketball team and the baseball team as an undergraduate. He
recalled the closeness that existed between him and the players he
worked with, and was quick to point out that these feelings of
mutual respect are still very much apparent. "These guys
were, and still are like family to me," he said. "Whenever I
come back to St. John's, which is often, I feel really welcomed by
everybody. St. John's always treats me like family, even
though I was really just a manager. I really love everyone
here, especially Lou Carnesecca and Jack Kaiser '49C, who was the
Head Baseball Coach at St. John's for many
Although not an alumnus, Charles Migliore has been an avid fan of
St. John's basketball since his teenage years. He was glad to
have an opportunity to bring his son and daughter to meet some of
the great players that he had cheered for in the past. "I
wanted my children to see some of the great home grown talent that
St. John's has always produced," he said. "My father went to
St. John's when it was a commuter school and I remember us going to
games and watching Chris Mullin play. That was college
basketball at its best, and tonight my children will get to meet
some of the players who were important to me when I was growing
Robert Sullivan '81CBA, co-owner of Jameson's with his partner Mark
McEntee '81CBA, was happy for the chance to give something back to
the University they love. "St. John's was good to me," he
remarked, "and in these tough economic times we wanted to do
something to give back to St. John's. I had great times at
St. John's and learned a lot, and Mark and I thought that this
would be a great way to do something for our school."
Co-hosted by the Nassau County Alumni Chapter and the Office of
Athletic Development, this event was the latest in the popular
Gamewatch series in which alumni get together at local restaurants
to watch Red Storm basketball away games on TV.