By Barry Moskowitz
Queens, NY (Nov. 24, 2004) - On most afternoons Lou Carnesecca
'50 makes his way to Mass at the St. Thomas More Church on St.
John's Queens campus.
Newer students often have recognized the legendary
men's basketball coach only as a cheerful man with a ready
smile. Now they, too, will know his name.
On Tuesday, Nov. 23 - twelve years after he retired as its
"winningest" coach - St. John's dedicated Alumni Hall in
Carnesecca's honor. Announced at halftime as the Red Storm
played St. Francis, the new name is "Lou Carnesecca
The announcement was a joyfully received surprise. St. John's
originally said only the basketball court was being named for
Carnesecca. The packed hall - which included new men's
basketball coach Norm Roberts - cheered at the news.
Living "The St. John's
Though Carnesecca retired as coach in 1992, he
remains active at St. John's. As Special Assistant to the
President, he attends major events and community activities. He
also chairs the Advisory Board of the Italian Cultural Center and
speaks at schools and organizations throughout the city.
What impresses his colleagues most, however, is a trait one
colleague called his "chronic humility, chronic
goodness." Years ago a reporter asked him for the key to
his success. Carnesecca chalked it up to "the St. John's
Philosophy": expect excellence, but always support "the kids
who are playing for you."
Now "Lou Carnesecca Arena" and "Lou Carnesecca Court" will
remind future generations that St. John's winningest coach also
embodies the Vincentian values of service, collegiality and respect
for others - values guiding the University today.
"We are deeply grateful for Lou's dedication to St. John's, both
through our basketball program and his contributions to the
University since his retirement," noted Rev. Donald J. Harrington,
C.M., President of St. John's.
For the Coach, the dedication brought back the days when he
paced the sidelines in his trademark sweaters. "I spent so many
years of my life in this building," he said. "This is a
tremendous honor from my alma mater, and I'm grateful to Father
Harrington and everyone at St. John's for thinking so highly of
Reviewing a Stellar Career
Thinking highy of Coach Carnesecca is easy to do. In 1992 he
was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield,
Massachusetts. He also is a member of the New York City Sports
Hall of Fame. Most of all, Coach Carnesecca is esteemed for his
decency, his commitment to St. John's and his belief that the Red
Storm should reflect the home-grown talent evident throughout New
To mark the dedication of Lou Carnesecca Arena, we present
a brief overview of Coach Carnesecca's outstanding career. We
invite you to join us for this look at one of college athletics'