June 22, 2017
Summer is officially underway and we are in full stride with our preparations for the 2017-18 campaign, one which we believe will be another memorable year for St. John's Athletics. Our student-athletes and coaches are working hard this offseason, and here on campus we are continuously focused on making improvements that will enhance our student-athlete experience and position our teams to contend for BIG EAST titles. For everyone involved, this is the time of year when champions are created and as I often say we "Embrace Excellence."
I would be remiss if I didn't touch on some of our highlights from the last month.
- First and foremost, I would like to congratulate Ed Blankmeyer and the entire Red Storm baseball team for another remarkable season. The team's list of accomplishments is endless, most notably it was a 42-win campaign that culminated with an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Three Johnnies were recently selected in the Major League Baseball Draft, as Jesse Berardi was taken in the 10th Round by the Cleveland Indians, Troy Dixon was picked by the Seattle Mariners in the 20th Round and Michael Donadio was selected by the Miami Marlins in the 30th Round. In spite of the program's recent stars moving on to the professional ranks, the future still looks bright for years to come for Coach Blankmeyer's club that returns several talented student-athletes, including freshman pitcher Sean Mooney. The National Freshman Pitcher of the Year, Mooney garnered All-America status this past year and recently earned a spot on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.
- Our women's tennis program also enjoyed a successful campaign under second-year head coach Lauren Leo. The team went undefeated in BIG EAST play and entered the conference tournament as the top seed for the first time in program history. Jessica Livianu capped a historic freshman season by advancing to the Round of 16 at the NCAA Division I Women's Singles Championship and becoming the first Johnny to ever receive an All-American nod.
- St. John's track & field program also sent individuals to the NCAA Championships as Maya Stephens, Nyla Woods and Adriana Wright all competed at the East Regional in Lexington, Ky. Congratulations go out to head coach Jim Hurt who has now sent student-athletes to national postseason competition for 26-straight years.
- Earlier this month, we had a tremendous turnout for the Lou Carnesecca and Chris Mullin Golf Classic at Sands Point Golf Club. I want to thank all of our supporters who were in attendance for coming out to celebrate the storied tradition of our basketball program and honor longtime St. John's Athletics supporter Joe Harkins. I am humbled by the generosity of our supporters, not only for their financial commitments, but also for their generosity with their time and unwavering passion for the program. This is what makes St. John's so special. Overall, the Lou Carnesecca and Chris Mullin Golf Classic was a great success and all proceeds from the event will directly benefit our student-athletes by providing the necessary resources to compete at the highest level and help return our basketball program to prominence.
- Lastly, I would like to recognize our athletics external relations team for taking home hardware from the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) annual 'Best of Awards' ceremony in Orlando. St. John's Athletics led all NCAA Division I programs with a record five 'Best of Awards' from NACMA in the categories of Promotional Schedule Poster, Revenue Producing Video, Intro Video, Revenue Generating Idea and Fan Engagement Video. Congratulations on a job well done.
As we look toward expanding our successes in the future, I wanted to share one of the several improvements we are making around the St. John's Athletics Department this summer. Next month we will begin a major upgrade at Jack Kaiser Stadium, which has played home to so many of our baseball greats over the years. The field will be outfitted with a new artificial turf surface and the ballpark will receive upgraded branding within the facility. It will be exciting to see the finished product this fall, especially when our student-athletes take the field for the first time. Please be sure to visit RedStormSports.com throughout the construction process as we document the transformation of the facility.
In closing, July is just around the corner, so please mark your calendars for our next major event: the Annual Jack Kaiser Golf Classic set for Monday, July 24 at Cherry Valley Club in Garden City. This year we will honor a pair of St. John's legends, Frank Palmieri and Ralph Addonizio, who each contributed to the rich history and tradition of our baseball program as members of the 1966 and 1968 College World Series teams. For more information please contact Mary Pat Beirne at 718-990-1873 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go Red Storm!
Director of Athletics
St. John's University