Jack Kaiser’s contributions to the Big East only begin with his various accomplishments at St. John’s. Aside from being the Athletic Director during the golden years – Kaiser served as AD from 1973-95 – he began his experience as a Johnnie (probably a Redman back then) in 1940 as he played basketball with the now legendary former coach Lou Carnesecca. Kaiser also played football and baseball at the university, and without coincidence, had the St. John’s baseball stadium named after him in 2007.
Still serving as an Athletic Director Emeritus to St. John’s, Kaiser is being inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame on Thursday, September 20. Kaiser will become the 33rd member of the Hall of Fame with ties to St. John’s, adding this enshrinement to his long list of inductions including the CHSAA, NIT, St. John’s University Athletic and Basketball Old Timers of America Halls of Fame.
Kaiser’s name is attached to so many great associations, institutions, and establishments, but one of his biggest accomplishments is being one of the original founders of the Big East Conference.
Along with the Athletic Directors from Providence, Georgetown, and Syracuse, in 1979 Kaiser and St. John’s proposed invitations to Boston College, Connecticut, Seton Hall, Rutgers and Holy Cross, to form a conference that centered around basketball. All teams joined initially except for Rutgers and Holy Cross, however, Villanova and Pittsburgh took those spots by 1982, and one of the greatest conferences in all of collegiate sports was born. Kaiser was later a part of the conference’s television and awards committees.
Kaiser is one of eight inductees in the Hall’s Class of 2012, most notably joining Ray Felix, the number one overall pick in the 1953 NBA draft, former New York Knick and seven-year NBA veteran Connie Simmons, and longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta.
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