Last week, the Washington Wizards announced that they will recognize former St. John’s College High School boys basketball head coach Pat Behan on Jan. 20 when they host the San Antonio Spurs. The Wizards will wear shooting shirts that say “Behan Strong” when they go on the court.
So where is St. John’s? And why are the Wizards recognizing a high school basketball coach?
To answer the first question, St. John’s College High School is NOT affiliated with St. John’s University in New York City. The mascot is the Cadets, NOT the Red Storm. Behan is being recognized after leading the Cadets to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) championship against heavily favored St. Paul VI High School in South Riding, a neighborhood in Chantilly, Va, which is in southeastern Loudoun County.
Coincidentally, Behan is from Loudoun County, where he attended Notre Dame Academy, a now-defunct Catholic high school in Middleburg. And for the record, I also am from Loudoun County, though I went to public school there and am now a teacher there.
Behan was also diagnosed with ALS, formally known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and informally known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It is a nervous system condition that ultimately removes one’s ability to walk and move freely. While Gehrig, the Yankees legend is the most famous athlete to have the condition, the late physicist Stephen Hawking may be the most famous person to have had the condition in modern times.
You can read more about Behan’s story here from The Washington Post.
It will be good to see how the Wizards and St. John’s use this event to raise awareness for ALS this January and the season at large.