20 Questions With....

Lou Carnesecca
January 7, 2019

Lou Carnesecca

Lou Carnesecca ’50C, ’60GEd, ’00HON is a legend in New York and college basketball circles worldwide. He is synonymous with St. John’s Men’s Basketball, having coached at the University for 24 seasons. During that time, he never failed to qualify for a postseason tournament and compiled a record of 526 wins and 200 losses. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.

1. In one word, describe St. John's.


2. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

That is a tough one. I would make every shot I take.  

3. Favorite St. John’s moment?

Ah, there were so many, but I would say when we went to the Final Four. That was a very, very important time.           

4. If you could visit any city in the world, where would it be?

Well, being from Tuscany, I would say Florence, Italy. 

5. Coffee or tea?

Coffee. We do not have tea.          

6. Three things you cannot live without

Coffee, Italian food, and a nice glass of wine.    

7. Spring, summer, winter, or fall?

Well, I love summer because I hate the cold.    

8. Sicilian or Neapolitan? 

I like them both; I am not trying to hedge. Neapolitan is excellent, and Sicilian—the thick one—I love that. They are both good. Depends on the time of the day.

9. Michael Jordan or LeBron James?

Well, I am old school, so I am going to go for Jordan, although the other guy is tough to beat.  

10. One thing that makes St. John's special?

The people.     

11. If you could have dinner with one person in history, alive or dead, who would it be?

Pope John XXIII. I just love his cordiality. He made you feel at home.

12. What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger, that you know now?

Always have a pencil with an eraser.     

13. Yankees or Mets?

It is hard. I grew up in East Harlem, NY. At that time, (the Yankees had) Frankie Crosetti, Tony Lazzeri, and Joe DiMaggio. You had to root for them. Of course, I love the Mets. Jay Horowitz (Mets Vice President of Alumni Public Relations) is a really good friend of mine. Two great teams.      

14. Jets or Giants?

Oh, Giants. I can remember paying 50 cents, sitting up in the stands with a cup of coffee, and freezing. That was back in the fifties.       

15. Favorite movie?

Gunga Din     

16. What is your favorite proverb or saying?

Do not have short arms. My dad told me three things. Number one: Be there. Number two: Do not wear a big hat. And, number three: Do not have short arms. Not necessarily in that order.       

17. What three words describe you?

You would have to ask somebody else; I cannot describe myself.

18. Who inspires you?

Sr. Mary Joella, my eighth-grade teacher. She inspired me to get into coaching and athletics. Wonderful woman who gave of herself for others. Marvelous woman.   

19. What's something about you that no one else would know?

I will not give up my secrets; that is why nobody knows them.          

20. What do you love about St. John's?

As I said, the people. There is a feeling of warmth here. I remember the first time I came to St. John’s—I fell in love with it.