Fasching picked to succeed Gagliardi at St. John's; some alumni upset

  • Article by: DENNIS BRACKIN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 29, 2012 - 5:25 AM

The pick to replace legendary coach John Gagliardi is a former player and assistant there, but he's not Eden Prairie's Mike Grant, and that troubles some supporters. One called the search process "a colossal waste of time."

hide

In this 2007 file photo, Johnnies' defensive coach Gary Fasching, left, is pictured with John Gagliardi.

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Gary Fasching certainly has the requisite résumé to succeed John Gagliardi as St. John's coach. Fasching, a three-year St. John's starter, won two state titles as a high school head coach and spent 17 years as a Gagliardi assistant.

And by the accounts of those who played with him, and for him as a coach, he is a nice guy, with solid values, and a disciple of Gagliardi. But all of that didn't mean Fasching's selection Friday was popular with all of St. John's passionate alumni base, many of whom believed the job would go to Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant, whose eight high school state championships are more than any other football coach.

Grant withdrew as a finalist Thursday, citing his desire to remain at Eden Prairie. Whatever Grant's reasons, his decision shattered the dream of many alums of returning the football program to the elite level nationally.

Todd Fultz, the most valuable player on the 1990 St. John's team, said he had communicated with "probably 40 different Johnnies" on Friday, and rattled off texts he said all carried the same message: "I'm shocked ... Sad to think about being average ... Too bad, this would have been great with Mike."

Fasching acknowledged the fractured alumni base in his introductory news conference, saying: "This is not about me. This is about St. John's University. ... I need all the alumni on board, even those who think St. John's might have made a mistake."

Fultz said alums "support Gary, everybody's happy with Gary," but getting over Grant is proving difficult. Fultz criticized the search process, describing it as "a colossal waste of time and ultimately, probably, averted the ability to hire Mike Grant." Grant's supporters felt the school should have been courting the Eden Prairie coach, rather than making him go through a lengthy, very public search process that concluded with Fasching, Grant and former Carleton coach and SJU quarterback Kurt Ramler as finalists.

The search process left some alums wondering whether the school was prepared to commit the financial resources needed to compete with the MIAC's newest power, St. Thomas, winner of 27 consecutive conference games. St. Thomas has four full-time football coaches; St. John's has one, the head coach.

SJU officials maintain prospective coaches were assured that adequate resources would be made available -- including an increased football budget -- but many are taking a wait-and-see attitude. The Johnnies slipped to 11-9 overall in Gagliardi's final two seasons, including 3-5 in the MIAC last fall -- the most conference losses in Gagliardi's 60 seasons there.

Former SJU quarterback Tom Linnemann praised Fasching but added a concern: "What I'm most interested in is what the entire plan is for the football program. I played for Gary, and I know that if he's given resources he'll do a great job.

"But we need to compete with St. Thomas, Mount Union, Whitewater, and to do that you need more than a new head coach. If you're going to win at the national level, you're going to have to have investment in the program."

Joe Mucha, a former SJU football player and retired General Mills executive who headed the search committee, declined to say whether Grant was offered the job. "It's fair to say we had discussions with Mike," Mucha said.

St. John's athletic director Tom Stock defended the search process, saying the discussions helped school officials learn what is needed to return the Johnnies to national prominence. Grant said his withdrawal was not a result of believing the new coach would lack resources or commitment from the school.

"What I told St. John's is that what was really good about this process is that it allowed me to think about who I am and what I do," Grant said. "I came to the realization that I'm an old high school football coach."

That reality is proving difficult for some of St. John's prominent alums to accept.

"A lot of people in the program -- major names -- are in shock right now, that we let this opportunity go by," Fultz said. "If Gary [Fasching] wins, everything will be forgotten. But if he doesn't, it's going to be ugly. People aren't going to be driving up here to watch a 5-5 team."

  • related content

  • Chart: About Gary Fasching

    Saturday December 29, 2012

    Age: 54SJU ties: A three-year starter at linebacker, and an assistant coach the past 17 years under John Gagliardi.As a...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees 0 Top 7th Inning
Toronto 2
Detroit 3 Top 6th Inning
Chicago WSox 6
Chicago Cubs 2 Bottom 2nd Inning
St. Louis 0
Cincinnati - A. Simon 3:05 PM
Pittsburgh - V. Worley
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 4th Qtr 11:15
UAB 41
(7) UCLA 28 4th Qtr 11:00
Virginia 17
Western Mich 28 3rd Qtr 0:41
Purdue 37
(5) Ohio State 20 4th Qtr 12:30
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 4th Qtr 9:05
Michigan 49
Ga Southern 20 4th Qtr
NC State 10
Boston College 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 3:00 PM
Seattle
New England 4:00 PM
Toronto FC
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Gophers in their season opener

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close