By Anthony Bosco
The man who has become synonymous with the St. John’s University men’s basketball team, Lou Carnesecca, will be honored, along with his wife Mary, at Terrace on the Park on Thursday, May 23, at the fifth annual Rose of Carmel Benefit Gala.
The former head coach of the Red Storm, who led the team to the NCAA Final Four in 1985, and his wife, are being honored by the Ozanam Geriatric Foundation and the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm with the distinguished “Rose of Carmel” and “Frederic Ozanam Awards.”
Carnesecca, who is the assistant to the president for community affairs at St. John’s University, lives in Jamaica with his wife. The two are being honored for their “selfless commitment and commendable community service.”
“That’s wonderful. I’m very happy and proud about it,” said Carnesecca, who said he wasn’t sure why the organization, of which he is a board member, chose to honor he and his wife this year.
“That I don’t know,” he said laughing. “That’s awfully nice of them, but don’t believe everything you read.”
Carnesecca met his wife Mary while the two were growing up on Manhattan’s East Side. The two were married in 1951, the year the couple moved to Queens, where Carnesecca coached both the Archbishop Molloy High School and St. John’s University basketball teams.
The black tie affair also will feature a silent auction and cocktails beginning at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7:30 p.m. and dancing. Former St. John’s Athletic Director Jack Kaiser will act as the Master of Ceremony.
“I’ve been associated with the function for the past four or five years,” said Carnesecca, who is a board member, along with his daughter Enes Carnesecca, and has attended the previous four galas.
Proceeds of the event will benefit the Ozanam foundation, he said.
“It’s run very well,” the coach said. “It’s a great function”
The Ozanam Geriatric Foundation was established in 1997 “to enhance the lives of the elderly through the sponsorship and development of creative programs; to prepare for the future needs of the aging population through community involvement and outreach; and to continue and augment the Carmelite mission.”
Ozanam Hall of Queens Nursing Home has been in the Bayside community since 1971; a not-for-profit short-term rehabilitation, long-term care facility for 432 residents. Ozanam Hall is administered by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm, who have developed and oversee 24 Elder Care Facilities across the United States and in Dublin, Ireland.
Carnesecca said he has a great affection for the work done by the Carmelite Sisters at the Bayside facility, which he visits often.
“They make you feel at home,” he said. “They do a lot of good work for the poor. They do a marvelous job. There’s a lot of love in those walls. I feel very, very good about being connected with them. The nuns do a great job.”
Reach Sports Editor Anthony Bosco by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 130.