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St. John’s to hold ceremony, introduce Joe Lapchick statue on campus

Honoring the coach who established the standard in the pre-NCAA days for the Johnnies.

SJUvDelState Wendell Cruz

As reported by Torch Sports, St. John’s is set to unveil a statue of former coach Joe Lapchick on Saturday, before the game against the Sacred Heart Pioneers.

Lapchick, a former NBA player and NBA coach with the Knicks in between stints as head coach of St. John’s, led the then-Redmen to four NIT titles (1943, 1944, 1959, 1965). Lapchick had a .720 winning percentage, with no losing seasons at St. John’s.

As an NBA player, he is credited with being basketball’s “first true agile big man” in the early days of professional hoops.

After stepping down from the head coach position at St. John’s in 1965, the job went to his assistant, Lou Carnesecca, who went on to become the fabled coach in St. John’s record books.

From the school’s press release:

The private ceremony will begin at 2:30 p.m. outside Taffner Field House. During halftime of the Johnnies’ contest against the Pioneers, there will be an on-court recognition of Coach Lapchick, the 1943 and 1944 National Invitation Tournament Championship teams and all his former players.

The statue has already been seen on campus.