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SJU head wrestling coach Brandon Novak is also an assistant football coach. | Joe Mellenbruch

CSB/SJU has a hard time getting alums to stay away.

With what seems like a constant flow of returning alums, head wrestling coach and co-defensive coordinator Brandon Novak is no exception.

Especially since he never left.

Novak worked as an intern in the admissions office as an undergrad, then applied for a full-time spot after graduation at the behest of then head wrestling coach John Elton.

“I thought I was going into the banking world when I graduated,” Novak said, who graduated in 2001. “John urged me to stick around and apply at the admissions office. A billion people apply for those jobs…but I happened to get it.”

Soon after, Elton decided to step down from the world of coaching, allowing Novak to take his place as head wrestling coach.

Novak, a three-time all-American with SJU wrestling and an NCAA champion says being a Johnnie makes it easier to sell a program that he has now been apart of for 16 years.

“People love to see the continuity. The fact that nine out of 10 [football] coaches are Johnnies, it helps tremendously,” Novak said. “It shows that we loved it here, and that we want to be back and help keep the tradition going that’s been St. John’s athletics.”

It’s made a difference nationally as well, as other teams have noticed how well St. John’s retains some of their more talented alums.

“It just makes such a big difference in recruiting,” Novak said. “I think it floors everyone else in the country seeing all of the alums involved with sports.”