Diocese of Rockville Centre

STATEMENT

DATE:      December 2, 2017

RE:           Dedication of Coach Joe Lapchick statue at Saint John’s University

FROM:     Most Reverend John O. Barres, Bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre


The newly unveiled statue of legendary player and coach Joe Lapchick, outside of Carnesecca Arena at St. John’s University, Queens. From left: Bishop Robert J. Brennan, auxiliary bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Rev. Richard Rock, C.M., Anton Goff (Athletic Director at St. John’s), Barbara Lapcek (Daughter of Coach Joe Lapchick… Richard Lapchick (son of Coach Joe Lapchick) Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President of St. John’s Mr. Kevin Reed (benefactor of St. John’s) and Bishop John Barres, Bishop of Rockville Centre.
Photo courtesy of St. Johns University Sports Information


The newly unveiled statue of legendary player and coach Joe Lapchick, outside of Carnesecca Arena at St. John’s University, Queens. From left: Bishop Robert J. Brennan, auxiliary bishop, Diocese of Rockville Centre, Rev. Richard Rock, C.M., Anton Goff (Athletic Director at St. John’s), Barbara Lapcek (Daughter of Coach Joe Lapchick… Richard Lapchick (son of Coach Joe Lapchick) Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President of St. John’s Mr. Kevin Reed (benefactor of St. John’s) and Bishop John Barres, Bishop of Rockville Centre.

Photo courtesy of St. Johns University Sports InformationOn Saturday, December 2, 2017, Bishop Robert Brennan (St. John’s University Class of 1984) and I attended the Dedication of the Coach Joe Lapchick statue at St. John’s University. We were present to support the New Evangelization Mission of St. John’s University and the leadership of St. John’s University President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw. The Diocese of Rockville Centre has always had and will always have a very close friendship and partnership with St. John’s University.

Bishop Brennan and I also thought it very important to be present to honor the memory of Coach Joe Lapchick (1900-1970) and his prophetic, centered and lived approach to interracial harmony and dignity. Both as a teammate and a coach, Joe Lapchick treated African Americans with consummate respect and dignity. He helped pioneer the integration of the National Basketball Association. He paid the price that wise and virtuous prophets pay in history for taking enlightened stances that result in positive social change (see Gus Alfieri’s Lapchick: the life of a legendary player and coach in the glory days of basketball. Lyons Press, 2006).

Perhaps the symbolism of the statue where he holds a basketball and points into the distance is an appeal to us in the present moment of racial tension to re-discover interracial peace and harmony. We consider Coach Lapchick and his legacy to be an important teaching tool for our Catholic schools, religious education and athletic programs. And we thank President Bobby Gempesaw and the St. John’s University family for the Light of Christ they shine to promote the Common Good.

To read more about the dedication visit: http://www.stjohns.edu/about/news/2016-12-04/st-john-s-unveils-statue-honoring-basketball-legend-joe-lapchick

CONTACT: Sean P. Dolan

Director of Communications
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