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College Round-up: Estep upbeat following departure from SJU

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That is essentially the attitude former St. John’s women’s basketball coach Darcel Estep is taking in the two weeks since she was fired by the university.

By Dylan Butler

No hard feelings.

That is essentially the attitude former St. John’s women’s basketball coach Darcel Estep is taking in the two weeks since she was fired by the university.

“It came as a shock to everyone involved,” said Estep, in an exclusive interview with the TimesLedger Newspapers. “I’m disappointed I’m not able to continue to coach the young ladies that I recruited but St. John’s has made a decision. Hopefully the players will keep focused on their personal and team goals, academically and basketball-wise.”

Estep was fired Jan. 18. before the Red Storm left for a Big East road game at Virginia Tech. Dave Wegrzyn, the school’s vice president for university development and athletics, declined to go into specifics about the firing, citing university policy regarding personnel issues. Estep, who was 22-51 in 2 1/2 years at St. John’s, also did not want to speak about the specifics.

“The last thing that is important for them is to read details about a coach who is no longer in the program,” she said. “I wish them well. I have no ill feelings towards the players, the coaching staff or St. John’s.

“I’m going to take this time wisely. My career will not stop. Just like anything in life, you have to make adjustments.”

Taking the reins on an interim basis is 28-year-old Pechone Stepps, a second-year assistant coach.

“It’s unfortunate about what happened but it’s an opportunity I welcome,” he said. “I talked to Darcel when it first happened. I had mixed emotions because you want to be loyal but she gave me her vote of confidence. There were no hard feelings. She gave me her approval.”

Stepps is 0-3 since taking over but the Red Storm have played better of late, losing by just nine, 63-54, at Georgetown Sunday.

“We’re going to take baby steps,” Stepps said. “You have to crawl before you walk and I don’t want people to think I’m going to be a savior. We’ve made some strides.”

The university said a national search has already begun for Estep’s replacement. Stepps would love to be the next head coach.

“Now that I’ve gotten the taste, you always want more,” he said. “I’d definitely love to be able to take the interim tag off [the title]. I’m young, I have a lot of energy. We have some good kids sitting out because of injury and we have a good class coming in. I’d like the opportunity to coach those kids.”

Bey battled through flu in LIU’s first win

Former Forest Hills standout JaJa Bey netted a game-high 20 points and pulled down a career-best 12 rebounds despite playing with flu-like symptoms to lead Long Island University to its first win of the year, an 80-64 decision over the Red Flash of St. Francis College (Pa.).

Fellow LeFrak City resident Antawn Dobie, who played his high school ball at Monsignor McClancy, added 13 points and four assists for the Blackbirds, who improve to 1-16.

Two Knights give verbal commitments

Holy Cross High School seniors Woody Aime and Doug Anderwkavich both gave verbal commitments to colleges for next season, according to the school’s head football coach Tom Pugh.

Aime, a running back who rushed for 789 yards on 115 carries, will be attending Hofstra University next year. Aime missed the Knights’ final game of the season because of academic ineligibility, but has since rebounded in the classroom, joining the varsity basketball team for its first league win this past weekend. Aime scored 20 points in the victory.

Anderwkavich, a 6-foot-6, 274-pound tight end, gave his oral commitment to the University of Buffalo of the Mid-American Conference, featuring schools such as Toledo, Marshall and Akron.

York’s McIntosh earns CUNYAC Swimming MVP

York swimmer Dennis McIntosh was the only man to win three individual events at the CUNYAC swimming and diving championships, earning MVP honors. The first-year men’s event, held at Lehman College, was won by the College of Staten Island with 557.5 points, while York finished in fourth with 238 points behind Brooklyn and Lehman.

McIntosh won the 100-yard butterfly (58.11), the 50-yard freestyle (22.77) and the 50-yard butterfly (24.53).

Men’s Basketball

Queensborough Community College 63, Bronx CC 57. Jeffrey Boone had 21 points and Johann Yorke chipped in 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers (6-12, 5-8 Region XV).

York 53, SUNY-Old Westbury 51. Shawn Simms had nine points, Jason Daniel and Marvin Gray added eight points apiece for the Cardinals (10-9). Anthony Bryant led Old Westbury (9-6) with 17 points.

Women’s Basketball

CCNY 61, York 54. Former Cardozo standout Lauren Cargill had 25 points, including 4-of-5 from three-point range, Victoria Rautlilia netted 17 points, including four three-pointers, and Kim Neos added 14 points and 11 boards for CCNY (9-9, 5-3) in the win Saturday.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 143.

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