St. John’s basketball star Gus Alfieri dies at 87

NEW YORK – Gus Alfieri, a St. John’s standout basketball player who later became a successful high school coach and author, has died. He was 87 years old.

St. John’s said a family member informed the school that Alfieri died Monday. No cause of death was provided.

Alfieri helped St. John’s win the 1959 National Invitation Tournament, scoring 15 points in the championship game, a 76-71 victory over Bradley in double overtime at Madison Square Garden. He averaged 10.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 72 career games over three seasons from 1956 to 1959 and in October was inducted into the university’s Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023.

Following his college career, Alfieri became the head coach at Saint Anthony’s High School on Long Island. He led the program to two New York State championships, four NSCHSAA titles and 328 wins between 1968 and 1986. The St. Anthony’s basketball court was renamed in his honor in 2016.

Alfieri ran the All American Basketball Camp on Long Island for more than 50 years.

Also a teacher, Alfieri wrote a book about Hall of Fame coach Joe Lapchick, his mentor at St. John’s. “Lapchick: The Life of a Legendary Player and Coach in Basketball’s Glory Days” was based on more than 250 interviews with basketball greats such as Lou Carnesecca, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Knight and John Wooden.

St. John’s said visitation will be held Thursday and Friday at Branch Funeral Home in Smithtown, and a funeral mass will be held Saturday morning at Christ the King Church in Commack.

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