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Norm Roberts officially fired

March 19, 2010

Roberts had just an 81-101 record at St. John's

St. John’s Athletics Director Chris Monasch officially announced Friday that St. John’s has fired Norm Roberts as head coach of the Men’s basketball team. 

After reports broke last week that Norm would not be retained for a 7th season, the firing became questionable when Norm was seen coaching the team at practice leading up to their eventual NIT first-round loss to Memphis. 

Finally on Friday, Chris Monasch issued this statement with regards to the program and Norm Roberts firing: 

“The decision was not made on a game-to-game or week-to-week basis. What we have been evaluating is a body of work over time. The challenges of what Norm and his staff faced were certainly great and we appreciate how far he has brought us. At this time, we feel that making a coaching change is the most efficient way to reach the next level of success as a men’s basketball program, for all of our current student-athletes and for the ones that will join our program over the next several years.”

“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.”

Rev. Donald J. Harrington, the President of St. John’s, shared Chris’ sentiments. 

“I have great respect for Norm Roberts and want to express, publicly, my appreciation for his accomplishments during the past six years,” said Harrington. “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 it best season this year under Roberts, but still fell short of the ultimate goal- an NCAA Tournament berth. 

“My wife 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 Norm 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.”

The 2010-11 Red Storm squad will return five starters, 13 letter winners and 94 percent of its scoring from a 2009-10 team that posted a 17-16 record.

A national search for a new coach will begin immediately.

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