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Scholastic Roundup: St. Francis College alums are making noise

March 31, 2023 Andy Furman
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It’s not over – maybe.

The decision by the Board of Trustees to abolish all of St. Francis College, Brooklyn’s NCAA Division I athletic programs for men and women has left everyone shocked and disappointed — that was part of the memo sent to college alums which was obtained by Scholastic Roundup.

It continued: “In the sudden and insensitive nature of the announcement, it is hard to differentiate between the emotional devastation of the decision and the callous way in which the decision was communicated. What version of the Franciscan spirit does this action embody? Is this the kind of institutional progress envisioned by the Franciscan Brothers when they arrived in Brooklyn in 1859 and won their first basketball game in 1896?

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“St. Francis College, despite remarkable academic and athletic achievements in its history, has often struggled to garner the recognition our scholars and athletes deserved. Last week we received unprecedented exposure in the media only to have it focus on one of the lowest points in school history. The action by the Trustees and the new COO cannot go unanswered.”

Save Our Sports is being formed by concerned alumni to achieve transparency, acquire specific answers and pursue through reinstatement of the St. Francis College Athletic program.

The plan, according to concerned organizers, is to petition the acting President and the Board of Trustees for a meeting to get answers to their students and coaches.

For those interested in supporting the effort, e-mail: Richard J. Collins, Class of 1968 [email protected]; Richard I. Aquilina, PhD, Class of 1968 [email protected]; Michael A. Davino, Class of 1968 [email protected].

Margaret Alaimo, Director of Athletics and Recreation at Brooklyn’s St. Joseph University, reminds that Irma Garcia still remains at St. Francis College, Brooklyn as Athletic Director.
“Only the President (of St. Francis) is gone,” Alaimo said. “Irma is still present for her staff, the student-athletes and the college. She is managing this very unfortunate situation, as she always does, with love for all.”

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Former Bishop Ford High School and St. Francis College point-guard Edgar de la Rosa is the boys varsity basketball coach at Poly Prep Country Day School. Poly just won the New York State Federation “B” Championship as they defeated PSAL’s Scholars Academy from Rockaway, Queens.

Scholars is coached by Brett Tawil – Brett’s dad – “Ditto” – played and later served as jayvee and assistant basketball coach at Lafayette for Gil Fershtman.

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For the first time in school history, three Yeshiva of Flatbush basketball teams are competing for their respective league championships.

Coach Gus Kennedy’s sixth-grade team earned top-seed with a 9-1 regular season, and then defeated YCQ 50-28 in the first-round before knocking off HALB, 56-35 to reach the finals with YHT.

Point guard Elliot Azar leads the attack with Morris Ashear and Charlie Keda in the frontcourt. Kennedy is in his tenth year at Flatbush.

Abie Rosow led his seventh-grade team to a 9-1 record and a 58-40 playoff win over North Shore. “Our players are tough to defend because we are versatile,” the fourth-year coach, who is a former Flatbush player, said.

First-year coach Jackie Mishaan, a former Flatbush Falcon, rallied his team to a thrilling 37-36 semifinal win over North Shore. Flatbush was trailing late until Michael Souleiman hit David Kamagi with a 45-foot pass and Kamagi converted the layup with four seconds remaining.

“We’re building a culture of winning with these young guys,” said Barry Neuberger, Director of Athletics.

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Kenny Gershon retired from teaching in June of 1998 after 32 years at Hillcrest High School in Queens. The Lafayette High School grad served as the school’s basketball coach through June, 2001.

He was Hillcrest’s first – and only – coach and never missed a single-gamed of the 662 consecutive played during his career.

He retired with 463 wins and 100 losses, seven division titles three teams in the PSAL City quarter finals and was voted Coach of the Year three times in Queens.

Gershon also served as baseball coach at Hillcrest from 1980-1998 and was named Coach of the Year in 1986. His academic duties extended to Dean – a position he held for eight years.

He was laid to rest Monday – next stop Hillcrest High School Hall of Fame.

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In 2013, the Board of Trustees for the Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles decided their soon-to-be gymnasium should be named the Gary Goldberg Gymnasium.

Archer presently does not have a gymnasium.

Goldberg was an outstanding basketball player for Gil Fershtman’s first team at Lafayette High in 1962. Goldberg is the father of Cailin and Shana – both Archer alumni – and partner of co-founder, Diana Meehan, started the ball rolling by giving a sizable donation because he believed sports were as important to girls as it was for boys.

“As for donations,” Ben Cardinale, a friend of Goldberg who also played basketball at Lafayette High said, “Time is of the essence for two reasons.”

Cardinale says Michael J. Fox has challenged him so he calls it Hollywood vs. Brooklyn – and a parent of one of the girls – a donor-in-the wings he says, has promised a very large donation if he sees a commitment from the public.

Donations can be made online: www.archer.or/gdggym, or checks payable to The Archer School for Girls – memo Gary David Goldberg Gym and send to: The Archer School for Girls 11725 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90049.

Gary Goldberg – who passed on June 22, 2013 at the age of 68 was a Hollywood superstar.  He created Family Ties in 1982, produced Brooklyn Bridge and Spin City. He received two Emmy Awards – 1979 for Lou Grant, 1987 for Family Ties – and four Writers Guild of America Awards (1979, 1988, 1998, 2010) for his work.

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Reyna Scott, a 5-10 freshman guard at Oklahoma University – and a graduate of Nazareth High – helped the Sooners to a 26-7 record and a first-place finish in the Big 12 with a 14-4 mark.

The Sooners were a fifth-seed in the NCAA Tournament; defeated Portland 85-63 in the first-round and fell to UCLA 85-63 in the second-round.

Scott played in 24 games, shot 24-for-59 from the field, scored 71 points and averaged 3.0 points-per-game.

Linda Cimino, the women’s basketball coach at St. Francis College, Brooklyn may be the first coach to land a new position since the school announced they’ve dropped their athletic program. She’s interviewed for the head coaching position at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. “It would be a perfect spot for me,” she said, “It’s near my mom.”

Jared Grasso, the men’s basketball coach at Bryant is the son of former Lafayette and Hofstra basketball star, Freddie Grasso.

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Pratt Institute’s men’s tennis team collected their second straight 8-1 triumph to open the spring season defeating Sarah Lawrence College, Sunday.

Pratt (3-1) swept all three doubles matches. Mehul Bhargava and Ryan Nelsen won in the lead match, 8-4. Caleb Callahan and Brian Duval won at love, No. 2, 8-0. Cole Rudy and Matthew Stachura teamed-up for an 8-2 win in the No. 3 position.

The Cannoneers men’s and women’s track and field teams opened their outdoor season  at the Queens College Season Opener, Saturday.

Thomas Perrone led the men with a pair of event wins taking the 800-m in 2:08.75 and the 1,500-m in 4:31.67. Bruce Westgate finished behind Perrone in second-place in the 1,500-m, with a time of 4:37.42 and also took sixth in the 800-m in 2:21.10.

Siena Sujitno and Courtney Beesch each took home wins for the women. Sujitno won the 100-m dash in 13:61 and Beesch captured the 3,000-m run in 12:04.90. Christina Sancho-Spore placed second in the 800-m in 2:39.29 followed by Sarah Cawley’s sixth-place time of 2:53.37. Ava Hunwick (1:13.61) and Alexis O’Rourke (1:16.39) finished third and fourth in the 400-m. Kayla Galvan nabbed fourth-place in the 200-m in 29.20.

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The St. Joseph’s University (Brooklyn) softball team swept their non-conference doubleheader from borough rival Brooklyn College, 12-1 and 6-0 last week.

Junior infielder Bella Gomez went four-for-six over the two games with four RBI and a pair of runs scored while starting pitchers Autumn Poppett and Jessica Mecham earned their first wins of the season.

Dylan Grosseto scored the game-tying goal for the Xaverian High varsity lacrosse team and senior Danny McMahon netted the go-ahead score to secure a Clippers 8-7 win over Msg. Farrell last week in their second league game. Farrell initially pulled ahead to a 7-4 lead to open the second-half.

A speedy recovery to former Tilden High School basketball coach, Eric (Rock) Eisenberg who recently had hip replacement surgery.

Andy Furman is a Fox Sports Radio national talk show host. Previously, he was scholastic sports columnist for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. He may be reached at: [email protected]. Twitter: @AndyFurmanFSR

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