Dec. 13, 2010
Official Website of the Northeast Conference
QUEENS, N.Y. -
St. John's Director of Athletics Chris Monasch will be included among the inaugural Northeast Conference (NEC) Hall of Fame induction class, announced last week by NEC Commissioner Noreen Morris. Monasch, the NEC's first Commissioner, and legendary Mount St. Mary's basketball head coach Jim Phelan headline the eight-member group.
Joining Monasch and Phelan are student-athlete honorees that include Wagner basketball player Terrance Bailey, Robert Morris football lineman Hank Fraley, Mount St. Mary's distance runner Peter Rono, Fairleigh Dickinson sprinter/hurdler Sharlene Milwood-Lee, Monmouth soccer standout Christie Pearce-Rampone and Saint Francis (Pa.) women's basketball player Jess Zinobile.
"I was very fortunate during my time at the Northeast Conference to work with and receive support from many talented administrators, coaches and conference staff," said Monasch. "We are all proud of what we accomplished. I am extremely grateful to all of those individuals as I accept this honor."
"We are thrilled to announce the inductees of the inaugural class of the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame," said Morris. "The incredible accomplishments of these coaches, administrators and student-athletes, both during and after their NEC collegiate experience, represent the breadth and diversity of the athletic success realized within the Conference in the last 30 years. On behalf of the entire NEC family, I'd like to congratulate this very special class of the Northeast Conference Hall of Fame."
Monasch served as the first full-time Commissioner of the NEC from 1987-97 and helped the league develop from its origin as basketball-only to a 17-sport conference upon his departure in 1997. One of Monasch's first initiatives was to rebrand the ECAC-Metro Conference as the Northeast Conference in 1988. Along with the identity change came a move to larger, more centralized office space and additional conference staffing.
Monasch was the catalyst in the addition of six NEC-sponsored sports, including football in 1996. He also oversaw the addition of Mount St. Mary's, Central Connecticut State, Quinnipiac, Sacred Heart, UMBC and Rider as full-time NEC members. It was under Monasch's tenure that the NEC had its greatest basketball success. In 1995-96, the conference sent three teams (Monmouth, Mount St. Mary's and Marist) to the postseason. Monasch was also instrumental in adding the NEC men's basketball title game to the ESPN Championship Week package back in 1988. During his term as NEC Commissioner, Monasch served on the NCAA Council, the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, the NCAA Special Events Committee and the NCAA Recruiting and Nominating Committee. Monasch went on to serve as the Commissioner of the America East Conference from 1997-05.
Now in the sixth year providing leadership for his alma mater's athletics program at St. John's University, Monasch oversees the Red Storm's 17 varsity sports and leads the University's Strategic Plan for Athletics, including development, facilities, marketing, communications, corporate relations and NCAA compliance.
Monasch oversees St. John's 17 varsity sports programs and leads the University's Strategic Plan for Athletics, including development, facilities, marketing, communications, corporate relations and NCAA compliance. Monasch has made a considerable impact in every area of St. John's Department of Athletics during his tenure. He has overseen the hiring of new men's basketball coach Steve Lavin and other key personnel in the Athletic Development, Sports Marketing and Athletic Communications areas. He also created several new assistant coaching positions for women's sports programs, in alignment with the University's commitment to gender equity.
Significant facility upgrades have been made during Monasch's tenure, including the construction of The Courts at St. John's and various improvements at Jack Kaiser Baseball Stadium, which honors one of Monasch's most distinguished predecessors. Monasch is currently spearheading the multi-phase fundraising and renovation plan for the modernization of venerable Carnesecca Arena - which received significant changes already in Phases I, II and III of the initiative, houses most of St. John's Athletics Department and serves as the on-campus home for the University's storied basketball programs. Phase II renovations in the 2008 offseason included a new playing surface, an overhauled seating bowl with 800 chairback seats, and enhanced ticketing and lobby areas. The installation of a high-resolution video scoreboard and sound system, a refurbishing of the arena ceiling, and a new high-definition lighting system are among the series of Phase III changes Red Storm fans enjoyed during the 2009-10 hardwood seasons.
Under Monasch's leadership, St. John's successfully completed the NCAA Certification process in 2009-10. Following a yearlong self-study to review the Department's governance and commitment to rules compliance, academic integrity, gender/diversity issues and student-athlete well being, the St. John's Department of Athletics received a designation of "certified," by the Division I Committee on Athletics Certification.
Monasch also announced a new corporate marketing partnership with ISP Sports in 2009. Now known as IMG College, the country's foremost collegiate sports marketing company serves as the exclusive sales and marketing representative for the Red Storm.
Monasch has implemented an athletics department philosophy of "Win, Graduate, Serve," which begins with an annual orientation program for all incoming student-athletes. St. John's Student Development staff provides academic support and guides community service and leadership efforts in Carnesecca Arena's four-year-old, state-of-the-art Student-Athlete Center for Excellence.
Annual giving to St. John's Athletics and the number of members in the Red White Club have markedly increased since his arrival, with the addition of development events such as the annual Bullpen Winter Banquet, benefiting the Red Storm baseball team. Monasch has overseen several special events related to the storied men's basketball program, such as Legacy Honors Weekend (2006), the Joe Lapchick Symposium (2006), the year-long 100 Years of St. John's Basketball celebration (2007-08) and the 25th Anniversary of St. John's 1985 Final Four Run last season (2009-10).
St. John's student-athletes continue to be extremely active members of the community - on campus, in the greater New York City area, and beyond. Red Storm student-athletes contributed nearly 1,900 community outreach hours during the 2009-10 academic year.
Monasch, 51, was named the fifth Athletic Director in St. John's University history on February 1, 2005. He has spent his entire career in collegiate athletics, serving in various leadership capacities for more than 25 years and has a résumé that touches some 30 institutions. In addition to his commissionerships of the America East and Northeast Conferences, he has served as Assistant and Associate Athletic Director at Fordham and Seton Hall Universities, respectively. He has experience with complex issues such as NCAA governance, compliance, student development and academic support, and is known as a visionary administrator.
Monasch has been a member of several NCAA committees, including the NCAA Management Council, the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, the Recruiting Committee and the Division I Baseball Committee, on which he still serves. He has been an advocate for student-athletes, serving two terms as liaison with the NCAA Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He served as chair of the Division I Management Council during the 2004-05 academic year, and currently serves on the NACDA Sears Cup Board of Directors.
Monasch began his career as an Assistant Athletic Director at Fordham University, a role he filled for four years before serving as the school's interim athletic director in 1985, where he also started the school's first academic support program. As an Associate Athletic Director at Seton Hall University, Monasch was a key player in the athletic department's upgrade that led to a men's basketball Final Four appearance and the move of its games to the Meadowlands.
Monasch is currently the chair of the BIG EAST finance committee and serves on the Advisory Board of the National Consortium of Academics and Sports. He also contributes on the Advisory Board for the Sport Management program and the College of Professional Studies at St. John's. He has served as an adjunct professor at the Seton Hall University School of Law and St. John's University.
Monasch is a St. John's alumnus, graduating with a B.S. in athletic administration in 1981. In addition to his degree from St. John's, Monasch holds a M.A. in communications from Fordham University (1984) and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall University (1993). He is a member of the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Bar Associations.
The NEC Hall of Fame was established as a means to recognize, honor and perpetuate the memory of those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to NEC athletics and have helped to bring recognition, honor, distinction and excellence to both the Conference and its Division I athletic programs. Nominations for the Hall of Fame were made by current and former member institutions, along with the Conference office. Enshrinees were then selected in a vote by administrators from each member institution and the Conference.