NICEVILLE, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Weekdays in May are relatively uneventful in college basketball, but a coaching change announced Thursday is putting the men's Panhandle Conference and NJCAA hoops at large on notice.
Steve DeMeo is leaving Northwest Florida, accepting a job as assistant coach at St. John's., filling out the Red Storm staff under Mike Anderson.
For DeMeo, the transition is a move home. A native New Yorker, his basketball journey includes growing up in Queens and coaching in the Bronx as well as at Iona and Hofstra.
DeMeo took over the Raiders in 2013, leading them to a 170-27 record and national championship in 2015.
His resume included five national tournament appearances, five straight conference titles, and four state titles.
The administration at NWFSC is sad to see him go, but ultimately thankful for DeMeo's contributions.
"It's incredibly hard to be consistent at our level with the nature of junior college, the roster turns over every year," athletic director Ramsey Ross said. "The fact that he rebuilds a team every year is just remarkable, and not only the consistency on the floor, but also off the floor.
"All the way around, it has been a home run for us. We certainly couldn't be more proud of the job he's done and I couldn't be more happier for the opportunity he's now getting."
Ross added that the search begins immediately.
Most scholarships aren't doled out until June and July, so while the Raiders won't be behind because of the coaching change, there isn't any time to waste.