Now in the ninth year providing leadership for his alma mater's athletics program, Chris 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 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 2008 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 year-long 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.
In 2009, Monasch also announced a new corporate marketing partnership with IMG College. 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 five-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 Monasch's arrival, with the addition of development events such as the annual Bullpen Winter Banquet, benefiting the Red Storm baseball team. He 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 (2009-10).
In 2011-12, the St. John's athletics program posted another year of achievement:
- The men's soccer team reached the NCAA Tournament for the 18th time in program history, en route to finishing the season with a 14-7-2 mark. The squad secured the league's automatic bid after capturing its conference-record ninth BIG EAST Tournament crown with a 1-0 golden goal victory against Connecticut at Red Bull Arena.
- The women's soccer team earned its 10th trip to the BIG EAST Tournament after defeating Syracuse in the regular season-finale. The squad also defeated Connecticut, Villanova, Rutgers and Seton Hall en route to a fifth-place finish in the American Division. For the first time since 2002, St. John's placed a student-athlete on the BIG EAST All-Rookie team with Caitlyn McLaughlin, a standout from Fairfax Station, Va.
- By placing fourth at the NCAA Championships, the fencing team extended its streak of finishing sixth or better to 20-straight seasons. The squad was anchored by team captain, Evgeniya Kirpicheva, who won the women's foil national title, becoming the 20th individual NCAA Champion in program history. Evgeniya was also one of 10 St. John's fencers to achieve All-America status.
- The women's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in program history after earning its third-straight NCAA Tournament berth. St. John's finished second in the BIG EAST and defeated six ranked teams, including a 57-56 victory at then-No. 2 Connecticut, which ended the Huskies' 99-game home winning streak. With a 24-10 overall record, St. John's finished with a program-best No. 13/15 national ranking.
- The men's basketball team and its "Fresh Five" all-rookie starting lineup posted six BIG EAST victories and closed out the season with home wins over UCLA, DePaul and then-No. 18 Notre Dame. Freshman Moe Harkless was named the 2011-12 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year and was the No. 15 selection in the NBA Draft,and BIG EAST All-Rookie teammate D'Angelo Harrison set a new all-time freshman scoring record with 544 points.
- The baseball team advanced to its first-ever NCAA Super Regional in 2012 after winning its first NCAA Regional title since the 1980 season. Head coach Ed Blankmeyer earned BIG EAST Coach of the Year honors for a conference-record fifth time, while the squad won both the BIG EAST Tournament and regular season crowns in the same season for the first time in program-history and finished 40-23 to notch its sixth 40-win season in the past eight years. Jeremy Baltz, the conference's first three-time first team All-BIG EAST selection since 2002-04, and Matt Wessinger both earned All-America honors and were among five players selected in the MLB Draft, including four chosen in the top six rounds.
- The lacrosse team earned the No. 4 seed in the first-ever BIG EAST Lacrosse Championship with a 7-5 record. The seven wins marked the highest season total since the program's reinstatement in 2005. The Red Storm scored two goals in the final 21 seconds to help down then-No. 20 Georgetown in overtime. Kieran McArdle, Kevin Cernuto and Terence Leach became the first trio in Red Storm lacrosse history to all record 20-plus goals in a season.
- The men's tennis team notched 17 dual match wins, reached its highest-ever national ranking at No. 50, defeated a program-best four nationally-ranked opponents and posted a 10-1 home record.
Red Storm student-athletes continue to achieve in the classroom.
- Since 2005, the number of Student-Athletes with at least a 3.0 grade point average has risen each year.
- The average cumulative GPA for all student-athletes in 2011-12 was a 3.20, as compared to a 3.13 in 2010-11.
- 16 of 17 teams achieved a 3.0 or higher Team GPA for the 2011-12 academic year.
- During the 2011-12 academic year, 17 student-athletes achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA, 31 percent of St. John's athletes posted a GPA of 3.5 or better, while 68.5 percent earned better than a 3.0.
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 2,000 community outreach hours during the 2011-12 academic year.
Monasch, 53, 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. He has served as commissioner of the America East and Northeast Conferences, as well 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 spent 1997-2004 as Commissioner of the America East Conference, leading that organization in implementing a NCAA compliance program, developing a marketing program and organizing the league's television network. Monasch created the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and restructured the league governance process to empower the member institutions' presidents as its chief governing body. Monasch also oversaw the addition of four new members to the conference and brought the conference to the highest level of athletic success in its history.
Prior to his tenure at the AEC, Monasch served as the first full-time Commissioner of the Northeast Conference, a position he held for nine years. He extricated the league from the ECAC in the late 1980s, changing its name from the ECAC Metro Conference, expanded league membership, added Division I-AA football to its sports sponsorship list and developed its television network.
Monasch has been a member of several NCAA committees, including the NCAA Management Council, the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee and the Recruiting Committee. He recently completed a second term on the Division I Baseball Committee. 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 athletics 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 a member of the BIG EAST Executive Committee and the Media Rights Negotiation Committee. He was recently the chair of the BIG EAST finance committee and currently 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.
Monasch currently resides in Manhattan.