St. Joseph, the basketball powerhouse in Westchester, announced on Tuesday that it is closing after this school year.
“Amid the current COVID pandemic, with its severe impact on the finances of many families, and the serious fiscal burdens St. Joseph has experienced during the past several years, as well as our steadily declining school enrollment, the Board of Directors has reluctantly made the recommendation to the Christian Brothers to cease operation of St. Joseph High School at the conclusion of the academic year,” David Hotek, the St. Joseph principal, wrote in a letter to alumni.
Legendary St. Joseph basketball coach Gene Pingatore died in 2019. He’s the winningest coach in state history, with a record of 1035-383 in 50 years. He coached NBA stars Isiah Thomas and Evan Turner and had a starring role in the 1994 documentary “Hoop Dreams.” Pingatore coached three McDonald’s All-Americans: Thomas, Daryl Thomas and Daryl Cunningham.
The Chargers were one of the state’s best teams under Pingatore. They won two state championships (2015, 1999), advanced to the state finals six times and won 13 sectionals.
Bill Riley, Pingatore’s longtime assistant coach, took over the program. The Chargers had a difficult year in 2021, finishing 3-12 after star junior Kyle Thomas was injured in the first game of the season.
St. Joseph opened in 1960 and educated more than 11,600 students according to Hotek’s letter.