Monday, June 17, 2024

St. John’s Moves On From Mike Cragg


Carnesecca Arena, the home of St. John's basketball. Photo by Jason Schott.

St. John's announced on Monday that it has mutually agreed to part ways with Director of Athletics Mike Cragg, who has been with the school for six years, and he will be serving until June 30.

Cragg was named the seventh athletic director at St. John’s in 2018, and he has overseen the University’s 17 Division I programs and almost 350 student-athletes. 

Since Cragg took over, the Red Storm won six Big East championships, with 15 teams participating in national postseason competition. The St. John’s fencing program won two NCAA individual titles, while the Red Storm men’s golf program took home back-to-back Big East individual championships the past two seasons.

"It has been an honor to lead the athletic department at St. John's University,” Cragg said in a statement. “I am proud of what we have accomplished together and am confident that the department is in a strong position for continued success.

As I bid farewell to St. John's, I extend my gratitude to our passionate fans and loyal alumni whose support has been the bedrock of our community. I am profoundly thankful for the dedicated and incredible staff of administrators and coaches whose commitment has propelled us forward. Most importantly, I celebrate our remarkable student-athletes, whose hard work and spirit have been a constant source of inspiration. Together, we have achieved great things, and I will forever cherish our shared journey."

Cragg executed several new initiatives during his tenure, notably facility and branding enhancements to athletic venues as well as numerous strategic partnerships, such as those with Learfield, Madison Square Garden and Nike. In addition, St. John's played the first-ever basketball game at UBS Arena when the Red Storm hosted eventual national champion Kansas in 2021. St. John’s also relaunched its Athletics Hall of Fame and Homecoming Weekend during Cragg's tenure.

The St. John’s UNLIMITED program to help provide Name, Image, and Likeness resources to student-athletes was also launched by Cragg. The program features an academic minor in Name, Image, and Likeness in Sport in conjunction with the Peter J. Tobin College of Business and the Lesley H. William L. Collins College of Professional Studies that is available to all St. John’s students. 

In addition to the academic side, St. John’s UNLIMITED features department-wide partnerships with both Influencer and Opendorse to empower Red Storm student-athletes with innovative technologies, education and support services to navigate the NIL landscape.

Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P., President of St. John’s University, said, “We thank Mike for his leadership and all of his contributions to the University community. He strengthened the foundation for the continued success of St. John’s Athletics and its student-athletes while always representing the University in a first-class manner. We wish Mike all the best in his future endeavors.”

St. John’s student-athletes achieved success in the classroom, as they earned nine public recognition awards from the NCAA for finishing in the top 10 percent of their sport in Academic Progress Rate (APR). 

Over 1,100 student-athletes were named to the Big East All-Academic Team while 16 sports programs received Big East Team Academic Excellence Awards for posting the highest cumulative grade point average in the league for their respective sports.

This past season, St. John's student-athletes achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.51, and almost 90 percent posted a 3.0 GPA or higher, with 56.5 percent earning a 3.5 or better. Nine teams recorded a mark of 3.5 or higher across both semesters, and 16 had a 3.0 or better. In the community, St. John’s student-athletes dedicated nearly 2,800 hours to service during the 2023-24 academic year. 

Cragg directed the creation of the Athletics Council on Community, Culture and Social Justice (CCCSJ) to lead a department-wide effort to help advance the University’s commitment to anti-racism, social justice and equality. 

Cragg guided St. John’s Athletics through the COVID-19 pandemic to help ensure continued success on and off the field of play. He also represented St. John’s on NCAA and BIG EAST committees. Most recently, Cragg served as a member of the NCAA Division I Competition Oversight Committee as well as the Division I-AAA Athletics Directors Association Executive Committee.

St. John’s will begin a national search for his successor.

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