Luigi P. “Lou” Carnesecca (born January 5, 1925) is a retired American college basketball coach at St. John’s University. Carnesecca also coached at the professional level, leading the New York Nets of the American Basketball Association for three seasons. Carnesecca was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.
He coached the St. John’s basketball program to 526 wins and 200 losses over 24 seasons (1965–70, 1973–92). The colorful “Looie” (as he was popularly known by fans and by the media) reached the post-season in every season he coached the team, including a Final Four appearance in 1985. He was selected as the National Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1985 by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Carnesecca is widely known for his sense of humor and his signature sweaters. In November 2004, St. John’s University officially dedicated and renamed the historic Alumni Hall to Carnesecca Arena.
Carnesecca graduated from St. John’s in 1950. He also coached his high school alma mater, St. Ann’s (now academic and athletic powerhouse Archbishop Molloy High School), where he was succeeded by Jack Curran.
After beginning his coaching career at St. John’s in 1965, Carnesecca jumped to the pro level. In the 1970–71, 1971–72 and 1972–73 seasons, Carnesecca coached the New York Nets of the defunct American Basketball Association (ABA), now the Brooklyn Nets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The 1971–72 Nets reached the ABA Finals, where they were defeated by the Indiana Pacers. Carnesecca returned to St. John’s in 1973.
Carnesecca was also a longtime announcer for the USA Network’s coverage of the yearly NBA drafts of the 1980s.
Head coaching record
Overall 526–200 (college)
Accomplishments and honors
3x Big East Conference Coach of the Year (1983, 1985–1986)