The College of Staten Island coaching staff for Cross-Country and Track & Field has grown by one, as the Dolphins have introduced Akil St. Louis as an assistant coach. St. Louis will start immediately for CSI, lending his expertise in middle and long distance in time for the Cross-Country season which officially kicks off competitively in the coming days.
A Staten Island native, St. Louis was a high-level NCAA Division I runner at Long Island University, and has been immersed in the running community through coaching ever since. At CSI, he will lend his expertise in all areas of the Dolphins’ programs as well as assist with recruiting, scouting, and strength and conditioning training. Head Coach Andrew Gangemi had high praise for St. Louis, and is anxious to bring him aboard.
“We are very excited to have Akil join the coaching staff,” said Gangemi. “He brings a wealth of knowledge from his time as a Division I athlete and as a successful high school coach. His expertise ranges from short sprints to middle distance. He has a true passion for the sport of track and field, and a great ability to relate his experience to the student athletes on the team.
St. Louis is thrilled ate the opportunity to join the Dolphins’ program, one that has built success on the cross-country terrain while introducing the varsity sports in track & field just a year ago. The program’s entry into NCAA Division II is also one being met with incredible enthusiasm. “I am very excited to join CSI and being a part of the community here,” St. Louis said. “Staten Island is home to me. To be able to stand side-by-side with Coach Gangemi, who I competed against in high school, is a phenomenal feeling, learning from his experiences and his expertise, it has me really excited to be here.”
A Certified USA Track & Field Coach, St. Louis doubles at CSI alongside his duties at St. Joseph High School in Brooklyn, where he serves as a Fab Lab Instructor, Gym Instructor, and Head Coach for Track & Field, the first one ever at the high school. He helped lead the Cougars unit to a second-place finish at the 2017 CHSAA Freshman Cross-Country Championships, ans a state 4×400 championship, and helped his unit qualify for an sprint medley relay event at the 2018 Millrose Games. The start-up feel at St. Joseph High School resonates with him as he embarks on his duties at CSI.
“I think especially with newer programs the key is to work at a deliberate pace,” he explained. “Track & Field is such a long season, so it’s important to get our athletes acclimated to our coaching style and bring them along slowly so that they can see the payoff and the huge dividends that are in store with hard work and patience. We had kids at St. Joe’s that never ran track before and then won championships two or three years later. It’s going to be our same approach at CSI as we progress the Division II landscape. We have athletes who want to do well. They’re excited to be here and we are going to get the very best out of them, be empathetic to their needs and contribute to their academic successes.”
An educator by nature, St. Louis has also had stops an Assistant Program Director and teacher at the Eden II School of Autism in Staten Island, and as a Program Director with Services for the Underserved in New York City. Prior to that, he has served as a volunteer assistant coach with Long Island University, and as the Head Coach for Track & Field at Bishop Ford Catholic High School in Brooklyn. He’s also mentored and executed programming for The Running School, one of the nation’s premier running camps. His eclectic experiences he hopes will serve him well at Staten Island.
“We are eager to bring that championship-pedigree to CSI,” said St. Louis. “Coach Gangemi came from a dominant program at St. Thomas Aquinas, and I think between his experiences and mine that formulates into something that can grow and bloom. Staten Island has a great running community and our program is going to contribute to that. It’s going to be great bringing that mentality to the team.”
The Dolphins will officially open their 2019 campaign on Saturday, September 7, at the Fordham Cross-Country Fiasco at Van Cortlandt Park. They will embark on their second official season on the track & field terrain in November.