BY CHRIS KUMAR SINGH
AND BRIENNE KENLOCK
After 27 years of coaching the Men’s Basketball team, Ronald St. John has made the decision to step down as head coach and give the position to long time assistant coach Antonio Morris. After leading them to countless NCAA Appearances which include multiple championship seasons, St John has made the decision to focus more on the athletic program as a whole in his role as Athletic Director of York College.
In 2006, St. John was awarded the position after proving himself countless times with the Men’s Basketball Team. During St. John’s tenure, he has piled up over 380 victories, won four CUNY Athletic Conference Championships (1997, 2006, 2007, 2014) and reached the NCAA Tournament six times (1995-97, 2006, 2007, 2014).
St. John has not only made an impact on the court, but has made a lasting impression on his players and staff off the court as well. When speaking to Assistant Athletic Director/ Sports Information Director John Scarinci who has been under St. John’s tutelage his entire time at York, it was apparent that St John is more than just a coach.
“Well since I been here he has been here, that’s like eight years now. Anything that he could do to help, he has done and done well.” said Scarinci.
When asked about St. John’s vision for the athletic department he was clear that growth was the only intention.
“Being the Director is a very demanding job and it’s about lifting York as a whole. Helping everyone succeed, think that he will do what he needs too.” he stated.
According to CUNY’s Multiple Positions Policy, which was revised in 2011, those in administrative positions would not be allowed in teaching positions. John Science, the assistant athletic director, said that the policy was enacted to counter compliance issues.
“When you have an administrator as head coach, you run into compliance issues…there’s a conflict of interest.”
Recently, there was an issue with compliance from two of York’s teams. The Men’s Indoor and Outdoor track and Field fell short below standards. They were supposed to have five indoor and six outside Track meets. But it got switched around with Men’s indoor having six and Men’s Outdoor having five. Only two meets were held. This resulted in the teams being dropped below.
In the meantime, St. John will be focused on helping other coaches improve their teams, including Women’s Volleyball and Men’s Soccer. There were no hard feelings on the position shift.
“I think it’s time I helped other coaches and their teams reach the same level the Men’s Basketball program has,” St. John said.
He spoke about stepping away he was brief but you can tell it was a hard decision to make.
“It was a very difficult decision, but I thought it was the right thing to do. I thought it was important to focus on bringing York’s other athletic programs to the level of men’s basketball,” said St. John.
When looking at his journey as a coach from start to finish there are parts where he has surprised himself. In true St John fashion he attributed his success to everyone that helped him get to where he is at.
“It’s been a wonderful run. I never thought that I would go from being a player on York in 1975 to one day becoming the athletic director and the winningest coach in school history. I couldn’t have done it without my long-time coaching staff— Antoine Morris, Nathan Reeves and Jessica Cherry— being by my side this whole time.”
When it comes to Morris, he’s been with St John since 1993. Playing for the Cardinals from 1993-95 averaging 5.6 points during his playing career, while shooting 41 percent from three-point range, and led the team to a berth in the NCAA tournament in 1995. When questioned about assuming the head coach position he was sure to pay homage to St John while making it clear that he was confident in his abilities.
“Ronald has been my coach, mentor and friend,” said Morris. “He has always prepared me for this. I will do him proud. It’s an honor to be taking over for him. I’m ready for the challenge.”