More than 30 former Brooklyn Campus basketball players attended Alumni Day at the Hill Center on Saturday, Feb. 4.
Alumni from the men’s and women’s basketball programs returned to participate in the annual alumni game, and many others attended as spectators. Families of alumni were invited onto the court after the game, and a tailgate event followed.
“Our annual alumni game allows us to get together, have some fun and reminisce,” said Joseph Cocozello, head coach of the men’s basketball team. “At our level, we spend a few years together, and then our student-athletes move on to the next chapter of their lives. To be together like that is something that all of us cherish.”
A wide range of age groups was represented, with attending alumni having graduated as far back as 1992 and as recently as 2021.
Reliving the Good Old Days
Among the former Bears at the event was Sebastien Etheart ’21, who now serves as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team. He, along with his twin brother, Stephane Etheart ’21, played at St. Joseph’s from 2016 to 2020.
“I think the game was a great opportunity for alumni to reconnect while reliving the good old days with former teammates,” Sebastien Etheart said.
“Many of us played here under different circumstances, with different (athletic) administrations, yet every former student-athlete I speak to simply wants to see our school thrive,” he continued. “The game was a lot of fun, and having Coach Cocozello as our referee made it even more enjoyable.”
Dr. Lukasz Cygan ’07 – a Bear from 2003 to 2007 and a former assistant coach for 11 seasons – echoed Etheart’s sentiments.
“This (event) keeps the program’s heart alive,” he said. “Seeing Coach Cocozello, he’s like a father figure to all of us. It’s just a great day.”
Director of Athletics and Recreation Margaret Alaimo acknowledged the success of the event, saying: “It was great to see them all reconnect and relive their years together as student-athletes at St Joseph’s.
“There is tremendous value for our current student-athletes and staff to realize that they too have this unique opportunity to be part of something bigger and build relationships that will last a lifetime,” she added.