Former St. John’s Coach Steve DeMeo Alleges Wrongful Termination in Federal Lawsuit

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St. John’s head men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson was named in the lawsuit. (Credit: Porter Binks/Getty Images)Former St. John’s assistant men’s basketball coach Steve DeMeo filed a federal wrongful termination lawsuit against the school and Red Storm head coach Mike Anderson on Thursday.DeMeo, who was fired in June, alleged his dismissal came after he informed…

Former St. John’s Coach Steve DeMeo Alleges Wrongful Termination in Federal Lawsuit
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St. John’s head men’s basketball coach Mike Anderson was named in the lawsuit. (Credit: Porter Binks/Getty Images)

Former St. John’s assistant men’s
basketball coach Steve DeMeo filed a federal wrongful termination
lawsuit against the school and Red Storm head coach Mike Anderson on
Thursday.

DeMeo, who was fired in June, alleged
his dismissal came after he informed Anderson he’d need time off
because of further medical procedures related to a heart condition, a mitral valve prolapse, that previously required surgery to fix an
irregular heartbeat.

“There were still procedures that
needed to be done. I got the sense that when I told [Anderson] that,
things went south,” DeMeo told Kevin Sweeney of Sports Illustrated. “He didn’t want to accommodate me, it didn’t sound like.”

The longtime Division I assistant said
he was fired “abruptly” after informing Anderson of the upcoming
medical procedures during a performance review in May. He alleged the
St. John’s head coach replied, “Well, you have a job to do; you
have to do it.”

DeMeo, who’s since been hired as an
assistant at East Carolina, told Sweeney the situation made him “feel
sick to my stomach,” and he felt the lawsuit was his only option.

“I’m not a litigious person,” he said. “There has been a lot of pressure on me just to move forward,
but I feel like I have to do it, and they can’t be allowed to treat
people this way.”

Neither the St. John’s athletic
department nor Anderson has commented on the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, DeMeo’s lawsuit also
detailed a rocky 2020-21 season for the Red Storm, which included
multiple instances in which the players were prepared to boycott after
Anderson threatened to kick Isaih Moore off the roster.

Moore was one of seven players who
transferred following last season, and DeMeo’s court filings said the
program was forced to turn down an invitation to the postseason NIT
because players “simply did not want to play for” Anderson
anymore, per Sweeney.

“Mr. Anderson lost control of the
team, and the players nearly revolted against him before the end of
the season,” the lawsuit stated. “Mr. DeMeo helped hold the team
together.”

Anderson, who’s guided the Red Storm to
a 33-26 record across two seasons, signed a six-year contract
extension through the 2026-27 college basketball season in May.

“We are beyond thrilled with Coach
Anderson’s leadership and the trajectory on which he has put our
program,” athletic director Mike Cragg said. “I think I
speak for everyone in the St. John’s community when I say that we
look forward to having both Coach and Marcheita as leading members of
our Red Storm family for years to come.”

St. John’s tips off the new season Nov.
9 when it hosts Mississippi Valley State at Carnesecca Arena.

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