– St. John’s named Pat McKenzie its head men’s basketball coach Wednesday to replace Jim Smith, who retired last month after 51 seasons heading the SJU program. McKenzie is a former Johnnies player and 2004 graduate who spent the past nine seasons as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under Smith.

“I am beyond appreciative for both the opportunity to lead this program, as well as the outpouring of support I have received from so many,” McKenzie said in a statement released by the school, promising “work tirelessly” in his new role.

St. John’s finished fifth or better in the 11-team MIAC in eight of the past nine seasons with McKenzie in a leadership role. The Johnnies recorded the second-most wins (110) in conference play during those nine seasons.

McKenzie returned to Collegeville after two seasons as director of basketball operations at Division I Wisconsin-Green Bay from 2004-06.

As a collegiate player, McKenzie was a starting point guard and four-year letter-winner for the Johnnies from 2000-04. He led the MIAC in assists as a senior and was a member of the Johnnies’ NCAA Division III Sweet 16 team as a freshman in 2000-01. McKenzie is sixth in SJU history with 305 career assists.

“We are thrilled and honored to have Pat as Saint John’s new head basketball coach,” SJU athletic director Tom Stock said. “Pat has spent the last 15 years of his life preparing for this great coaching opportunity.

McKenzie’s father, Pat ’79, was a point guard on four national-tournament teams at SJU from 1975-79 and a younger brother, Kevin ’14, also played point guard for the Johnnies from 2010-14.

McKenzie and his wife, Jillian (CSB ’09), have a daughter, Evelyn, and reside in St. Joseph.

The Johnnies are expected to return 84.3 percent (1,584 of 1,878 points) of their scoring from last season in 2015-16, including All-MIAC first-team guards Mitchell Kuck (Lino Lakes, Minn./Centennial) and Alex Schmitt (Waconia, Minn.).