John Kresse

John Kresse (born April 17, 1943)

Teams coached: College of Charleston Cougars
College of Charleston record^: 560-143 (.797)
Overall record^: 560-143 (.797)

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1979-2002 College of Charleston
1973-1979 St. John’s (asst)
1970-1973 New York Nets (asst)
1965-1970 St. John’s (asst)

John Kresse Facts

  • John Kresse
  • Born April 17, 1943
  • Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
  • Alma Mater: St. John’s University (BA, 1964 & MA)
  • The Brooklyn-native played at St. John’s under head coach Joe Lapchick; earned two degrees from the University
  • Started his coaching career at St. John’s, spending five seasons as an assistant under new coach Lou Carnesecca from 1965-70
    • Followed Carnesecca to the ABA in 1970, spending three years as his assistant with the New York Nets
  • They returned to St. John’s in 1973, where Kresse would work for six more seasons before getting his shot as a head coach
  • Spent 23 seasons as the head coach at the College of Charleston (SC), starting when the program was a NAIA member and helping transition to the NCAA Division I level in the 1990s
    • Won the NAIA National Championship in 1983 and finished his NAIA years with an overall record of 268-59
    • The program spent four years as a Division I Independent, two years transitioning and two years as full members, before joining the Atlantic Sun (then known as the TAAC) in 1994
    • Won or shared the regular season title in each of the five years he coached in the conference, with three trips to the NCAA Tournament and two to the NIT
    • CofC left for the SoCon in 1998 and Kresse’s squad continued on their winning ways, winning or sharing four regular season titles in four years
    • Kresse retired from coaching after the 2001-02 season, having won a conference title in all nine years in which his teams were a member of a Division I Conference
  • His .767 winning percentages is among the highest across all college divisions, but his .801 Division I winning percentage (258-64) is the fifth-best of all-time (as of 2018)
  • College of Charleston renamed the F. Mitchell Johnson Arena in his honor in 1994, while he was still the head coach there
    • It was a rare honor for the active head coach to be coaching his team in John Kresse Arena
    • Though the arena still stands on conference, the men’s basketball team started playing at TD Arena in 2008; the school named the court John Kresse Court in his honor
  • In 1983, Kresse received the Order of the Palmetto from the Governor of South Carolina in recognition of his lifetime service to the state; it is the highest civilian honor given in SC
  • Still active within the College of Charleston community, hosting an annual charity golf tournament in his name and serving as a special assistant to Director of Athletics Matt Roberts
  • Has two twin sons with his wife, Sue Sommer-Kresse, who worked at the College of Charleston for more than 35 years

John Kresse Coaching Tree

  • Ben Betts (South Carolina State)
  • Jon Coffman (Purdue Fort Wayne)
  • Gregg Marshall (Wichita State, Winthrop)
  • Jim Yarbrough (Southeastern Louisiana, Valdosta State)


^ records include seasons at both the NCAA Division I and NAIA levels; College of Charleston began transitioning to a D-I Independent in 1989 (officially joined D-I in 1991) and became the TAAC (now Atlantic Sun) in 1993