The annual St. John’s Kickoff Luncheon was held this afternoon at St. Benedict’s Gorecki Center.
Here are a few notes and tidbits from the affair:
* St. John’s coach John Gagliardi’s humorous account of his latest goal as he prepares to enter his 60th season as head coach at the school:
“I’m shooting for 500 wins and I need 16 more to get there,” the 85-year-old Gagliardi told the crowd of around 175.
“I figure if I can win two a year, I’ll get there in eight years. If I only get one a year, I’ll get there in 16. And if we don’t win a single game over the next 25 years or so, at least I’ll still have a winning record when I retire at the age of 112.”
* St. Benedict president MaryAnn Baenninger opened the event and introduced new St. John’s president Michael Hemesath, who graduated from St. John’s in 1981 and was a member of the faculty at MIAC rival Carleton from 1989 until being named to his new post earlier this year. He said one of the perks of his new job will be his seat in the President’s Box at Johnnies football games.
“I’d always try to come back for a game or two each year (when he was at Carleton) and I’d sit in the end zone,” Hemesath said. “Then one year, a former classmate of mine who went to more games than I did bought season tickets. So I was finally able to sit in a seat with a back rest.
“The nice thing about my new position is the chance to one-up that classmate. Now I can offer him a seat not just with a back rest, but with a roof, climate-controlled comfort and even some food as well.”
* Offensive coordinator Jim Gagliardi unveiled the team’s new game jerseys and pants, manufactured by Adidas. The biggest change will be the fact the game pants will no longer have a stripe down the sides. You can see a picture of the new game jersey I posted on Twitter by following me at @rajko1973.
* The coaching staff will switch things up a bit this season. Brandon Novak, who had been coaching the linebackers, will move over to the offensive side of the ball and coach the running backs. Fasching, who had been in charge of the defensive line, will take Novak’s place coaching the linebackers. And Damien Dumonceaux, who had been helping out with the defensive line, will take over for Fasching overseeing that position group.
* Fasching said the coaching staff expects about 197 players to report for the start of practice. That group includes 71 newcomers — 65 freshmen and five transfers. The Johnnies report to check out equipment on Aug. 11 and the first practice is scheduled for the afternoon of Aug. 12. The team opens the season when it plays host to Northwestern (Minn.) at 1 p.m. on Sept. 1 at Clemens Stadium.