St. John’s promotes long-time assistant Joe Tartamella to head coach

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With the school’s all-time leader in wins moving on after a Sweet 16 appearance, finding a new head coach for the women’s basketball program was an important task for St. John’s athletic director Chris Monasch.

And he didn’t look too far in making his decision, making associate head coach Joe Tartamella the eighth head coach in school history.

Tartamella has some big shoes to fill with Kim Barnes Arico moving on to Michigan, as Barnes Arico went 176-134 and led the Red Storm to four NCAA tournament appearances.

“I am excited and grateful to be able to make my start as head coach at such a tradition-filled and successful program,” said Tartamella in a statement released by the school. “Since I have been here, I have seen first hand the willingness the University has shown to continue to make women’s basketball a priority at this school.

“It is a pleasure to be able to take on a larger role in these goals, which reflect my own. I am thankful for Chris Monasch and Father Harrington for allowing me to be able to continue what Kim Barnes Arico started here.”

St. John’s went 24-10 in 2011-12, falling to Duke in the Sweet 16. One of the highlights of the season was their 57-56 win at Connecticut on February 18, ending the Lady Huskies’ 99-game home win streak.

The Red Storm lose just two seniors from last season’s team in Da’Shena Stephens (11.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Tesia Harris, meaning that the door remains open for St. John’s to cement themselves as a prominent program in the Big East.

In Tartamella they’ve got a familiar face at the helm, one fans hope is able to build on the momentum of 2011-12.

Photo credit: St. John’s University

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.