Statement From Athletics Director Chris Monasch, Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., Coach Norm Roberts
QUEENS, N.Y. -
St. John's Director of Athletics Chris Monasch announced on Friday that the University will part ways with Norm Roberts, who will not be retained after six seasons as head men's basketball coach. Monasch will begin an immediate national search to find a successor, who will serve as St. John's 19th men's basketball coach as the University prepares for its 103rd season on the hardwood in 2010-11.
"Coach Roberts took over a very challenging situation and has advanced our program in many respects. We appreciate the class and integrity he exhibited in his six years at St. John's. His student-athletes always represented the University in ways consistent with our values, and he has significantly improved the pool of basketball talent since he arrived," said Monasch. "We have high expectations for our program. Along with demanding that our program is run with integrity and that our student-athletes achieve academically and in the community, we expect a high level of success on the court consistent with our tradition."
Roberts served six seasons at St. John's, from 2004-05 to 2009-10, revitalizing the men's basketball program after beginning his tenure under NCAA probation (2004-05 to 2007-08) and with one reduced financial aid award during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons. His career record at St. John's concludes at 81-101 (64-41 home, 12-53 road, 5-7 neutral, 32-70 BIG EAST regular season, 2-3 BIG EAST Tournament).
"I have great respect for Norm Roberts and want to express, publicly, my appreciation for his accomplishments during the past six years," said Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M., President of St. John's University. "Norm recruited student-athletes who have represented the University well, both on the court and in the classroom. His professionalism and the exemplary way in which he and his players have conducted themselves have restored the integrity of our men's basketball program. We are deeply grateful for all Norm has done and wish him and his family great success in the years ahead."
St. John's posted its best-ever record under Roberts in 2009-10 (17-16), and was awarded the school's first National Invitation Tournament (NIT) berth since 2003. In 2008-09, the Red Storm slayed its biggest giant of Roberts' tenure in then-No. 7 Notre Dame, won three of its final five games during the regular season and was selected to participate in the postseason College Basketball Invitational (CBI). Highlighted by a return to the BIG EAST Championship Tournament for the first time since 2003, the 2006-07 St. John's team posted its first winning record (16-15) since the 2002-03 season, and compiled its best conference record (7-9) since that year as well.
Six of Roberts' 81 career victories at St. John's came against ranked opposition: No. 7/10 Notre Dame on Jan. 3, 2009, No. 22/21 Notre Dame on Jan. 23, 2007, No. 9/9 Pitt on Jan. 21, 2006, No. 17/15 Louisville on Jan. 17, 2006, No. 21/17 Pitt on Jan. 18, 2005 and No. 17/15 NC State on Dec. 30, 2004.
"My wife [Pascale] and I appreciate the great opportunity to have coached at St. John's, and would like to offer our gratitude and appreciation to Father Harrington, Father Maher, Jim Pellow and Chris Monasch. They have all been very supportive of me, my staff and my family," said Roberts. "Having grown up in Queens, I never could have imagined being afforded the opportunity to coach at one of the most prestigious basketball programs in the country. I do believe the program is in a much stronger position than when I arrived, and is poised to take a major step up both in the BIG EAST and nationally. This is due to the hard work of our coaching staff and our players, and I wish this group of young men continued success in the future."
One of the storied programs in the history of men's collegiate basketball, St. John's concluded the 2009-10 season as the seventh all-time winningest program in the NCAA Division I record book with 1,703 wins and 884 losses. The school's .658 winning percentage ranks ninth all-time in NCAA history, while St. John's 26 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances are tied for 20th. The program's 26 NIT appearances and five titles are also unprecedented. Helms Foundation national champions following the 1910-11 season, St. John's appeared in NCAA Final Fours in 1952 and 1985. The program boasts 11 consensus All-Americans, 59 NBA Draft choices and 45 players that have scored 1,000 career points or more.
The 2010-11 Red Storm squad returns five starters, 13 letterwinners and 94 percent of its scoring from a 2009-10 team that posted a 17-16 record.