St. John’s Athletic Director Chris Monasch calls it quits

By Joseph Staszewski

The St. John’s Athletic Department is looking for new management.

The school announced yesterday in a statement that athletic director Chris Monasch will resign from his position effective June 30 to pursue other leadership opportunities. Monasch, a St. John’s alumnus, has led the department since 2005. The university will immediately begin a national search for his replacement.

“We appreciate the many contributions that Chris has made to St. John’s University particularly to our athletics program,” St. John’s President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw said. “He has provided leadership to ensure the success of our student-athletes both on and off the field of play.”

Under Monsch’s leadership the Red Storm made 29 NCAA Tournament appearances, won 10 Big East championships and nine regular-season titles. He oversaw St. John’s transition into the new Big East, the expansion of it multi-media presence and the upgrading of a number of the athletic facilities, including Carnesecca Arena and Belson Stadium. St. John’s teamed up with IMG College, Under Armour and launched the St. John’s Television Network (SJU-TV) in conjunction with ESPN3 under Monasch.

“I am most proud of the many achievements of our student-athletes over the last ten years,” Monasch said. “They have embodied what student-athletes should strive for in their respective sport, in the classroom and serving the community. I want to thank all of the coaches, administrators and staff for the support they gave to assist our student-athletes in achieving so much over the last decade.”

Sacramento King’s general manager Pete D’Alessandro, a St. John’s alum, is the favorite to replace Monsch, according Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. D’Alessandro was a video coordinator under Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca and worked with new St. John’s coach Chris Mullin in the Kings front office.

Former St. John’s president Donald J. Harrington, who resigned amid a financial scandal, hired Monasch. While Monsch’s tenure was filled with mainly success, there where a few missteps along the way.

Most recently he alienated alumnus Keegan Bradley, a PGA star, with the dismissal of longtime golf coach Frank Darby after he led the Red Storm to the 2014 Big East title and was named coach of the year. Bradley, winner of the 2011 PGA Championship, removed the St. John’s patch from his golf bag and was unhappy after he came out to support former teammate Casey Calmi as the next coach and Monasch hired Mal Galletta.

“I’m pretty disappointed with the school,” Bradley, 28, said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “Chris Monasch doesn’t really care about the golf team. He never did when I was there at least.”

Monasch’s top lieutenant Brian Colleary was fired in 2012 for selling the program’s men’s basketball tickets and pocketing the money, after an investigation by the university.