Roberts to return for next season

St. John’s University announced Friday that men’s basketball head coach Norm Roberts will be returning for the 2008-09 season.
Athletic Director Chris Monasch said the decision to reveal head coach Norm Roberts’ fate at this point of the season was a result of the “speculation and talk” that had been floating around and that it made sense so that the “players and coaches could breathe a little easier.” Monasch announced that Roberts will be returning for the 2008-09 season and that there would be a meeting to pursue an extension of his present contract at the end of this current season.

Plagued with negatives like the scandals of the 2003-04 season, the losing-records and NCAA sanctions, St. John’s became unattractive to top recruits. Now, St. John’s administration finally sees a chance to move forward with a core of eight freshmen, a restored moral reputation, NCAA sanctions that end in May 2008 and renovations to Carnesecca Arena to be completed in two to four years.

“We think Norm is the right person for the job and he has been successful in what we asked him to do initially, which was to take a program that had really been devastated and bring integrity, high hope and high expectations back to it,” Monasch said. “He’s done a good part of what we asked and we just want to be patient as he fulfills the last part of it, which is to be more competitive, which we believe he can do.”

Many have thought about the idea of the eight freshmen being the next step toward a rebuilding process, but have also kept in mind the many transfers that have taken place in the three and a half years of Roberts’ tenure and questioned: What if? But, despite the departures and highly publicized 47-65 career record, St. John’s decided to put its faith in Roberts because he has done the majority of what they asked of him: structuring a foundation for his team on how to act comme il faut and restoring the overall off-the-court respectability of the program.

The next level anticipated is on-the-court recognition.

“There is an urgency to win here,” Monasch said. “I hope we make substantial steps this coming year.”