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The Butler Did It: Queens coaches left out in cold for SJU assistant jobs

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Well, actually, I won’t say it because bragging about picking one of three assistant coaches at St. John’s is like picking the first of a trifecta at Belmont.

And the payoff is about the same.

Sure, I was right...

I don’t want to say I told you so, but…

Well, actually, I won’t say it because bragging about picking one of three assistant coaches at St. John’s is like picking the first of a trifecta at Belmont.

And the payoff is about the same.

Sure, I was right about Glenn Braica, who was selected by new Red Storm coach Norm Roberts almost immediately after getting hired April 13.

Braica, the associate head coach at St. Francis College under Ron Ganulin for the past 13 years, is a fixture at almost every high school gym.

The gym rat from Brooklyn can recruit, has done the advance scouting, monitored the Terriers’ academic performance and was responsible for the players’ pre and post season workouts.

And if you want to get technical about it, I said Chris Mullin should be the next St. John’s coach, but then again I had no idea Roberts’ hat would be tossed in the ring. That said, I fully endorse Roberts. I think he’s a great hire; he’s hungry and passionate about returning St. John’s to prominence.

The Springfield Gardens native who played and coached at Queens College said all the right things when he met the New York media on a rainy Tuesday afternoon.

He spoke about how important it is to repair the damaged relationships with area high school and AAU coaches after the aloof Mike Jarvis decided it was more important to go with junior college players than keep up the time-honored tradition of keeping some of New York’s best home.

He spoke about how fortunate he was to have people like legendary Molloy coach Jack Curran, Queens College athletic director Doc Wettan and Kansas coach Bill Self take a chance on him along the way.

But it appears he’s not going to do the same for current Queens College Kyrk Peponakis or longtime Cardozo coach Ron Naclerio.

Their names surfaced as possible assistant coaches under Roberts, but it doesn’t look like either St. John’s grad will join the staff.

According to sources, St. John’s is wary of a nepotism hire (see Mike Jarvis Jr.) or bringing in a local high school or AAU coach that could alienate others (see Dermon Player).

Names such as Fred Hill, an assistant coach at Villanova who is reportedly a finalist for the Marist head coaching job, and Van Macon, an assistant coach at Hofstra, are among the favorites, apparently leaving Peponakis and Naclerio on the outside looking in.

Peponakis was an assistant coach under Roberts and if anyone knows how hard it is to coach at Queens College, it would be Roberts, who was 60 games under .500 in his four years at the Flushing school.

But Peponakis has done something Roberts wasn’t able to do at Queens — he’s won. He’s taken the Knights to two straight NCAA tournament appearances despite Third-World facilities and some of the stiffest academic standards in the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference.

And while Roberts was full time, Peponakis has done it as a part-timer, spending the majority of his days at Cardozo as a physical education teacher.

Anyone who knows Naclerio knows that the Bayside native bleeds St. John’s red. The former Red Storm baseball standout who roomed with major leaguer Frank Viola is at almost every home game and handed Jarvis both Daryll Hill and Ryan Williams.

After decades as one of the best high school coaches in the area, Naclerio just wants a chance to show what he can do at his alma mater, but like Peponakis, it appears that chance isn’t likely to happen.

Not this time.

Maybe I’m wrong — this time I really want to be inaccurate — because while some may cry that neither has Division I coaching experience, I know St. John’s would be better off with Peponakis and Naclerio on the bench with Braica and Roberts.

Reach Associate Sports Editor Dylan Butler by e-mail at TimesLedger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 143.

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