Brooklyn Heights

St. Francis College scraps entire athletics program

March 20, 2023 Andy Furman
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This loss was a big one. The biggest in school history.

St. Francis College, Brooklyn, has dropped its entire athletics program, according to Director of Athletics Irma Garcia. 

“I come to you today to share the news of a decision I never anticipated during my time at St. Francis Brooklyn,” Garcia said in a statement on Monday. “I am heartbroken that a decision has been made to eliminate the college’s athletics program. Effective at the conclusion of the Spring 2023 Semester. My heart hurts for our student-athletes, coaches, and staff.”

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At a 9 a.m. meeting Monday morning, St. Francis College coaches – in all sports – learned the school will no longer continue competing in athletics. Athletes from the Terriers’ 21 teams were notified at a meeting around 12:30 pm, a source told the Brooklyn Eagle.

St. Francis College competed as a Division I school in the Northeast Conference.

“After the school sold their building at 180 Remsen St.,” the source continued, “Competing at the Division I level was extremely difficult.”

Terrier basketball and volleyball performers used the Pratt Recreation Center as a home court.

“Basketball players had to uber from school, 179 Livingston St., to Pratt, 200 Willoughby Ave. for practice,” the source said. “For the water polo team, it was worse. They had to bus to Staten Island Community College to use their pool.”

Dropping athletics – or moving down to compete in the NCAA Division III – has been nothing new at the college.

“As far back as the 1970s,” the source said, “President Donald Sullivan wanted to eliminate the athletic program. Time and again it was overruled by the Board of Trustees.”

Athletes will be permitted to keep their scholarship, should they decide to remain at St. Francis. Others, will probably look to continue their athletic careers at other schools – possibly entering their names in the NCAA Transfer Portal.

Things were on shaky grounds at the college several weeks ago when some 45 staffers were let go, the source said. “Apparently the college is in some financial problem,” the source continued. “The building at 180 Remsen St., which was thought to have been sold, apparently has not – we hear that deal feel through.”

The college, the source continued, is behind on bills – the bus company that the school used for basketball travel is owed some $100,000 it is believed.

School President Miguel Martinez-Saenz is gone, the Eagle learned – possibly because of the budget woes. People in and around the school claim he is on a “leave of absence,” but sources tell the Eagle he’s been fired.

Garcia, who was also a former Terrier basketball performer and later coach, is gone as well.

The long history of the St. Francis College men’s basketball program dates back to 1896 and it is the oldest collegiate program in New York City. The program had players on the court only five years after Dr. James Naismith invented the game in 1891.

The College’s first official game came in 1901 against Brown University. The Boys from Brooklyn, as they were referred to finished the 1901 season with a 13-1 mark.

In 1933 they were a founding member of the now defunct Metropolitan New York Conference. During this time period, the Terriers hosted their home games in their gymnasium at the Butler Street Campus in Cobble Hill or at the 13th Regiment Armory.

The program has won six regular season championships and has participated in four National Invitational Tournaments.  As of 2010, Glenn Braica was announced as the 17th head coach in the history of the St. Francis Terriers men’s basketball program.

One person can possibly rest easy.

John Conforti, who holds the men’s single-game scoring record with 45 points – his mark will never be topped.

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