The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

View this profile on Instagram

The Torch (@sju_torch) • Instagram photos and videos

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jojo Siwa
Jojo Siwa’s Bad Karma
Catherine Pascal, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024
Torch Photo / Anya Geiling
Live Show Spotlight: Roger Eno
Anya Geiling, Contributing Writer • April 30, 2024
Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson
Speed Dating Your Prospective Professors
Isabella Acierno, Outreach Manager • April 29, 2024

University to Unveil Joe Lapchick Statue in December

The late Red Storm and New York Knicks head coach will be honored Dec. 2.
The+Lapchick+Character+Awards+were+created+over+10+years+ago+to+honor+courage+and+integrity+in+basketball.+Now%2C+the+University+plans+to+honor+the+Hall-of-Fame+coach+with+a+statue+outside+Carnesecca+Arena+%28Torch+Photo%2FDerrell+Bouknight%29.
The Lapchick Character Awards were created over 10 years ago to honor courage and integrity in basketball. Now, the University plans to honor the Hall-of-Fame coach with a statue outside Carnesecca Arena (Torch Photo/Derrell Bouknight).

St. John’s University will honor its rich history yet again, as the university will unveil a statue of Hall-of-Fame coach, mentor and pioneer Joe Lapchick later this year.

The statue will be unveiled in a ceremony on Dec. 2, according to St. John’s alumnus Kevin Reed, who has spearheaded the project over the last several years. It will be placed in the courtyard between Taffner Hall and Carnesecca Arena.

Reed, along with former Red Storm hoopster and New York City Basketball Hall of Famer Gus Alfieri and Lapchick’s son, Dr. Richard Lapchick, originally planned to erect Lapchick’s likeness nearly four years ago, when the University first announced plans to build a historical monument in December 2013 and unveil it the following spring.

Fundraising efforts were not completed in time to stay with the original schedule, though, and plans were pushed back until now. On Oct. 6, Alfieri announced the new launch date and lauded Reed for his persistence at the Lapchick Character Awards Luncheon in Manhattan. The Lapchick Character Awards honor legends in the basketball world who exemplify the integrity and commitment to excellence that were staples of Lapchick’s character.

“A lot of people worked very hard to make [the statue] a reality,” Alfieri said as he addressed the crowd of 250 people at the luncheon. “The unveiling of this statue is something that a lot of us have waited quite a while for. Kevin [Reed] worked very hard to raise a lot of money.”

Lapchick compiled 334-130 record at the helm for St. John’s, winning four National Invitational Tournament titles in 20 seasons in Queens. He also coached the Knicks, leading them to three NBA Finals appearances in nine seasons.

Before his coaching days, the 6-foot-5 Lapchick was widely regarded as the greatest center of his generation, playing for the Original Celtics and the Cleveland Rosenblums in the 1920s. He won four American Basketball League championships in that span.

On top of a stellar playing and coaching career, Lapchick was known for his courage and inspirational leadership. He signed Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, who became the second African-American player in NBA history, to harsh criticism around the country, and also displayed honesty and humility on the sidelines.

“By all accounts, Joe Lapchick was a Hall-of-Fame coach and a Hall-of-Fame person,” Reed told the University in 2013. “I began to wonder: ‘Why are there no prominent monuments on the Queens campus honoring Lapchick’s legacy?’ And that’s precisely how this statue idea got off the ground.”

The University did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the statue.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Torch
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. John's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Dylan Hornik
Dylan Hornik, Sports Editor Emeritus
Dylan Hornik is a senior journalism major and spent the last two years as a sports staff writer and Assistant Sports Editor for the Torch. He hoped to illuminate the rich history of St. John’s athletics while keeping readers up-to-date and informed on today’s sports teams, bringing together Johnnies from all walks of life. He has finished his undergrad years as of December 2017 and will be graduating in May.
Donate to The Torch
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *