St. John’s Introduces Mike Cragg as Director of Athletics
St. John's introduced Mike Cragg as its seventh athletic director in program history on Tuesday in a press conference inside Carnesecca Arena. Cragg comes to St. John's following a three-decade-long tenure at Duke, where he helped the men's basketball program solidify its reputation as one of the nation's best.
"For us, we wanted to be at a place that values the student-athletes and has a mission of strong core values," said Cragg. "We've been in that for a long time, so coming here we feel like it's very much family first and a place where you can believe and care for each other. That's the culture we want to be part of and it's actually much better than I ever imagined.
"There's a great history here and I want to be part of the imagining the championships in the future here."
Having overseen operations and facilities for all 27 of Duke's athletic teams, Cragg, the senior administrator for the Duke men's basketball program since 2000, possesses one of the most unique skill sets in all of college athletics. In addition to his roles in operations and facilities management, Cragg also carries a significant penchant for fundraising, as he helped Duke raise more than $115 million through the creation of the Duke Basketball Legacy Fund near the turn of the last century. Additionally, Cragg also boasts a background in communications, having served as the primary media relations contact for the Blue Devil men's basketball program throughout the 1990s.
Cragg was welcomed to the podium on Tuesday by Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw, Ph.D., President, St. John's University, who spoke about the program's promising future with Cragg at the helm.
"I am confident as President of St. John's University that the future of Red Storm Athletics will be brighter with the leadership of Mike Cragg given his outstanding experience and commitment to excellence in academics and athletics," said Gempesaw. "I agreed with Mike when he said that together we can build a championship program and put St. John's University back in its well-earned and respected place among the elite programs in the country."
A number of distinguished guests were in attendance for Tuesday afternoon's press conference, including Hall of Fame Head Coach Lou Carnesecca and Athletic Director Emeritus Jack Kaiser, both of whom Cragg publicly thanked for their warm welcome to St. John's. Additionally, the men's basketball team paused its midday practice to be present at the event.
"Our family is about caring, so that's a word that is very special to us," said Cragg. " I feel in this new role that I'm a caregiver to St. John's. I want you to see all of us as caregivers. That's been a part of our lives throughout. … We've cared for each other and we've cared for the community that we've been a part of. That's who we're going to be here and care for St. John's."