Ex-St. John’s basketball coach files lawsuit against Mike Anderson, school

The St. John's basketball coaching staff looks on at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
The St. John's basketball coaching staff looks on at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

Former St. John’s basketball assistant coach Steve DeMeo is suing head coach Mike Anderson and the university. 

A bombshell lawsuit became public on Thursday morning involving former St. John’s basketball assistant coach Steve DeMeo and head coach Mike Anderson.

DeMeo is suing Anderson and the school for wrongful termination after the assistant coach was fired in June.

Kevin Sweeney of Sports Illustrated was first to report on the filed suit.

DeMeo is claiming that he was fired by St. John’s and head coach Mike Anderson over a health condition, mitral valve prolapse, that would force him to miss extended time in order to receive treatment and attend scheduled doctors appointments.

ALSO READ: Complete St. John’s 2021-22 schedule released

The former Red Storm assistant also sounded off on alleged dysfunction inside the St. John’s program last season.

“It was only after Mr. DeMeo discussed his ongoing medical condition with Mr. Anderson and his need for additional medical procedures going forward that Mr. Anderson chose to terminate employment,” the lawsuit states.

Mike Anderson filled Steve DeMeo’s position on his coaching staff with Greg ‘Shoes’ Vetrone.

The lawsuit also says that Anderson limited DeMeo’s opportunities to find employment as an assistant coach this season although he was recently hired by East Carolina.

Former assistant makes other accusations at St. John’s basketball

Steve DeMeo also commented on the behind the scenes dysfunction in the lawsuit saying the team nearly quit on head coach Mike Anderson after the first half of a game on March 6 against Seton Hall after a dispute between the head coach and Isaih Moore.

DeMeo said Anderson wanted to throw Moore off the team at halftime but the players were set to revolt and not play the second half before Anderson yielded.

St. John’s, who once trailed by 20 points in the first half, outscore Seton Hall by 20 points in the second half to win the game, 81-71, while Moore did not play in the second half.

Isaih Moore became one of eight players to transfer from St. John’s last season, although the team’s best two players, Julian Champagnie and Posh Alexander, returned to the program.

The former JUCO standout, recruited by DeMeo to St. John’s, was also suspended earlier in the season due to a violation of team rules.

ALSO READ: St. John’s adds to 2022 recruiting haul with Jaquan Sanders

Moore committed to Southern Mississippi during the offseason.

DeMeo also said that the team did not strictly follow COVID-19 health and safety protocols last season despite St. John’s not recording one positive coronavirus test among a player or coach last year.

The former assistant also stated that the program hit behind the excuse of not wanting to play in the NIT because of the tournament’s bubble as well as COVID-19 protocols. Rather, the team no longer wanted to play for Mike Anderson.

Anderson was named as the Big East’s Coach of the Year last season after leading the Johnnies to a 16-11 (10-9 Big East) record and a fourth place finish in the Big East Conference, its highest finish in conference play since 2000.

St. John’s started its Big East schedule at 2-6.

In a statement given to the New York Post the school said, “St. John’s University and Coach Mike Anderson categorically deny Steve DeMeo’s allegations of wrongdoing, but cannot otherwise comment on pending litigation,

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