On the Gagliardi rumors …

As one might expect, I’ve had a number of people ask me today about a rumor or report that’s circulating in regard to St. John’s football coach John Gagliardi being close to making an announcement about retirement.

I’ve even heard from a couple of former players asking about it. And it’s a topic that always sets off fire alarm bells here in the newsroom, as you can imagine.

Speculation about when Gagliardi might hang it up is nothing new, of course. I’ve been chasing down rumors on that front since I first took over this beat in 2000.

Not sure where the origins of this one were, or what the merits of it are.

All I can report is that I just spoke to Gagliardi, who said he has no plans to make an announcement about his future in the next week. He said he is focused on Saturday’s game against Carleton in which the Johnnies will try to snap the first four-game single season losing streak at the school since 1930.

I also spoke to St. John’s athletic director Tom Stock, who said he isn’t aware of any forthcoming announcement, and that the school has no plans in place for any kind of announcement on this front in the near future.

Truthfully, I haven’t heard anything either on or off the record that would lead me to believe some kind of announcement is iminent. And believe me, for the sake of my current employment, I wouldn’t sit on information on this topic if I had it.

By his own admission, Gagliardi seriously thought about retirement last year, but elected to return for his 60th season in Collegeville – and his 64th as a collegiate head coach – this fall.

It’s been a long season for his team, and Gagliardi – who turns 86 on Nov. 1 – has always taken losses pretty hard. This year has been no exception. So would I be shocked if this was the year the retirement announcement finally came? No. Certainly not.

But I also wouldn’t be surprised if he eventually elected to come back for another year either.

At any rate, the man himself said he has no plans to make any announcement on that front – at least in the next week anyway. And I’d be surprised if there was an announcement from him either way prior to the end of the season. Though if that changes, we certainly will report it.

We’ll see. For now, all I can report is that Gagliardi and Stock both said there are no plans for any kind of announcement in the immediate future.

So, that’s all I know about that.

Frank Rajkowski

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