David St. John’s Time On Earth Was Way Too Short, But His Influence Lives On
By Charles Parker // May 5, 2015
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
ABOVE VIDEO: Melbourne High School enlisted David St. John as head coach for basketball and football. It was an instant click at a difficult time in the school’s history. Traditionally a whites-only school, Mel Hi was finally integrated during the 1960s, and St. John was one of the individuals who helped the school transition smoothly and peacefully.
DAVID ST. JOHN – 2015 INDUCTEE
Dedicated His Life To Helping Youth Through Education, Sports
CAPE COAST CONFERENCE COMMISSIONER
When David St. John died unexpectedly at age 51 in 1991, Trinity Presbyterian Church in Satellite Beach was filled to capacity by the number of young people and their parents who wanted to pay their last respects to a man who had dedicated his life to helping youth through education and sports.
“I think it was one of the largest funerals in Brevard,” said his widow, Connie.
David was Connie’s soul mate, and she equally shared his passion for helping children achieve their full potential.
In the early 1960s, the couple was high school sweethearts at Eustis High School, where Connie was a cheerleader and David captained both the basketball and football teams.
A year younger than David, Connie followed him to Florida State.
After college, the couple embarked on a career of service to youth. She was an educator, while his heart was passionate for sports’ potential to mold young people.
“We always wanted to positively impact children,” said Connie St. John. “David always wanted to do as much as he could for kids.”
St. John’s career began as basketball and football coach at Tavares High School and continued at Pasco High School, where he served as head basketball and assistant football coach.
Melbourne High School enlisted St. John as head coach for basketball and football.
It was an instant click at a difficult time in the school’s history. Traditionally a whites-only school, Mel Hi was finally integrated during the 1960s, and St. John was one of the individuals who helped the school transition smoothly and peacefully.
The students – black and white – loved the popular coach, and they could often be found at the St. Johns’ home, where they knew they were always welcome. They didn’t forget St. John after the playing days were over, either.
“The thing I remember the most of those years was how many of the players would come back to visit after graduation,” said St. John.
INFLUENCE LIVES ON
In addition to impacting students’ lives through his coaching, St. John was also commissioner of the Cape Coast Conference, a job that required plenty of after-hours work in those pre-cell phone days.
“Many evenings at home, we would be finishing dinner and David would begin working on scheduling all the sports activities for the Conference,” said St. John.
“He would use these yellow pads. When we were going through his things after he passed, we found all these stacks of yellow pads. He spent a lot of time with the Conference.”
In memory of St. John’s efforts, the Cape Coast Conference created two annual sports scholarships, one for a boy, one for a girl.
Although he had quit coaching to focus on his position as assistant principal at Satellite High School, St. John remained passionate about sports. An avid runner, he could often be found sprinting up and down South Patrick Drive and A1A.
Both the St. Johns’ boys, Scott and Steven, continued their dad’s heritage and were active in sports. David’s grandchildren are also following suit.
St. John’s time on earth was way too short, but his influence lives on.
“It’s amazing that more than 20 years after he’s been gone, people still remember him with such fondness,” said Connie St. John.
“He was a good man and a caring person.”
THE 2015 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 8.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2015 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Induction Dinner, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail MaverickMultimedia@gmail.com
CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS