St. John's promotes from within

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Gary Fasching was with John Gagliardi for 17 of his 60 seasons in Collegeville, Minn.
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St. John's named Gary Fasching, a 1981 SJU graduate, its head football coach on Friday, Dec. 28. Fasching becomes the 16th head coach in the 102-year history of Johnnie football and replaces John Gagliardi, who announced his retirement Nov. 19 following 60 seasons at SJU. Fasching ended his 17th season as an assistant football coach and recruiting coordinator at SJU this fall.

“I am honored and excited to be the new head football coach here at St. John's,” Fasching said. “I look forward to working with the administration and alumni to continue the successful program that John Gagliardi built. This is an exciting time for St. John's football.”

The Johnnies posted a 164-39 record (120-22 MIAC) with 10 conference titles and 12 postseason appearances (22-11 playoff record), including the 2003 national championship, 2000 national runner-up performance and four national semifinal games during his tenure.

“It goes without saying that Gary Fasching's football credentials speak for themselves,” said Michael Hemesath, SJU president. “Coach Fasching's experience with building a winning program at Cathedral High School, as well as providing an excellent experience for our student-athletes in his role as an essential part of the St. John's program are completely in keeping with the legacy of John Gagliardi. This consistency is probably no surprise as Gary was coached and mentored by John.

“In addition to his passion for winning, his thoughtful and articulate vision of how football is part of the overall mission of St. John's University was impressive. Throughout the search process Coach Fasching made it clear that he is an educator who understands deeply how football is part of the holistic education that we provide at Saint John's University where academics, community living and extra-curricular activities are all integral to the exceptional undergraduate experience. The testimony from the many young men whose lives he has changed was powerful and moving.”

The other two finalists were also St. John's insiders: Mike Grant, an alumnus and former SJU assistant coach who is the son of former Vikings coach Bud Grant and a successful high school coach; and Kurt Ramler, a former Gagliardi Trophy finalist who had been the head coach at Carleton. Athletic director Tom Stock told the St. Cloud Times that Grant withdrew from consideration.

Seventy-two Minnesota High School All-Star game participants have attended St. John's during Fasching's tenure as the Johnnies' recruiting coordinator. Eleven SJU defensive linemen earned a total of 15 All-America honors during his 16 seasons as the program's defensive line coach before switching to linebacker duties in 2012.

“We are thrilled that Gary has come through this ultra-competitive search process and earned the head football coaching position here at St. John's,” Stock said. “Gary has worked diligently the past 30-plus years to put himself into this role.

“He has had a tremendous and positive impact on the entire athletic department and university during his tenure. St. John's is very committed to provide Gary all he needs to get its football program back to national prominence.”

Fasching also serves as the University's McGlynn Fitness Center director and coaches the SJU throwers as an assistant with the track and field team. The Johnnies collected three All-America honors, including one national championship, and 10 conference titles under his guidance. SJU has won the MIAC discus championship each of the past four seasons.

Prior to joining the Johnnies' coaching staff, Fasching served as the head football coach at St. Cloud Cathedral High School from 1986-95, where he led the Crusaders to the State Class B title in 1992 and 1993.

A three-year starter for the Johnnies at linebacker from 1978-80, graduated from SJU in 1981 with a degree in social science. He earned his master's degree in sports management from St. Cloud State in 2000.

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