Firing Of Veteran St. Joseph’s College Brooklyn Athletic Director Frank Carbone Causes Student-Alumni Uproar
“Injustice” is the word being used by countless Saint Joseph’s College students and alumni in emails and social media posts to refer to the firing of long-time athletic director Frank Carbone on Tuesday, September 15.
“Frank taught us more than just the game he coached,” said Samantha Quick, a former Bears basketball player. “He made SJC athletics a whole where every team supported one another. He made us a family. He gave his entire life to making SJC athletics to what it is now. He has put in more time than anyone could ever imagine. It’s a disgrace that he was fired.”
Former student-athlete and celebrity comedian Chris Distefano also spoke out, remembering Carbone as a caring and dedicated athletic director and coach in an Instagram post.
“This man was like a second dad to me during my basketball career there. If you know him, you know what I mean,” said Distefano, who is currently a cast member on MTV2’s show “Guy Code” and MTV’s “Girl Code.” “Let’s help him get reinstated. It just wasn’t his job. It was his life. That’s (the) type of man you want running your athletic program.”
The outpouring of support and outrage began immediately following the September 15 email to students from Assistant Vice President and Senior Director of Athletics Shantey Hill.
In the official St. Joseph’s statement, the school explained that Carbone was terminated due to a desire to push the Bears athletic program in a different direction.
“After a lengthy and thorough assessment process, St. Joseph’s College determined the need for new leadership in Brooklyn athletics,” the statement read. “The decision to replace Mr. Frank Carbone as athletics director was not an easy one, and in no way diminishes the significant contributions he made to the college and its athletic programs in Brooklyn over the past 18 years.”
The email also announced SJC Associate Director of Athletics Alex Winnicker as interim athletic director. Winnicker was hired in July to fill the newly created position. The future, wrote St. Joseph’s, will include plans “to increase opportunities for our student-athletes by adding athletic programs, improving our current programs and continuing to expand our facilities as we strive for excellence and greater success for the college.”
Carbone, 47, a Greenpoint native, has been with St. Joseph’s for decades and the basketball court in the recently opened Hill Center is named after him.
His achievements have included starting SJC’s softball program in 2002, helping it produce winning records in all but two seasons, and leading the Lady Bears to a third-place finish in 2010 and to nine Hudson Valley Conference titles. He was also USCAA National Coach of the Year in 2003, HVIAC Co- Coach of the Year in 2015, and three-time AD3I Coach of the Year.
However, there may have been signs of his being transitioned out as he stepped down as coach of the women’s softball and basketball teams in August, ostensibly in order to concrete on his duties as Athletic Director, according SJCBears.com.
“I must say that I vehemently disagree with the decision and steps taken to fire Frank, as well as the timing of it,” a former student-athlete – who wished to remain anonymous – close to situation said. “That was only about a month ago. Frank Carbone didn’t have the chance to solely be an athletic director. With the new position created around him, it was clear that the pressure was on, and that he didn’t stand a chance against an administration that had its mind made up from months ago. The writing was on the wall, and that’s what I am most disgusted with.”
The private Facebook group “We Support And Love Frank Carbone” has over 1,100 members, who have also taken to Twitter and Instagram with hashtags #BringBackFrank, #BearWitnessToTheShame, #FPCisSJC and #SackJack — a reference to SJC President Jack Calareso. In addition, they started hard copy and online petitions.
Carbone couldn’t be reached for comment since he handed over his cell phone to the school, and an alternate number wasn’t available at the time of this publication.