St. Lifer Comes ‘Home’ to FSC

Nov 1, 2022

by FSC Staff

By all accounts Luke St. Lifer ‘18 was happy where he was.

Entering his third season as the Director of Basketball Operations at NCAA Division I Bryant University, St. Lifer was preparing for the upcoming Bulldogs season.

Then a phone call changed all of those plans.

Florida Southern College men’s basketball head coach Mike Donnelly was on the other end of that phone call. Donnelly wanted to know if St. Lifer wanted to come back to Florida Southern, this time as an assistant coach.

It was an opportunity that St. Lifer felt he couldn’t refuse.

“I actually had just renewed my lease a week before I got the call,” St. Lifer said. “My family and friends are here at Florida Southern. This place has become a home for me. It was one of those opportunities you can’t pass up. Any other job would’ve been hard to take. This one might not have come again, so I had to jump on it.”

Aerial view of Berlin

St. Lifer, who was a member of the most recent NCAA Division II National Championship team in 2015 under Linc Darner, spent the next three years as a support player under Donnelly before graduating in 2018.

During the summer before his senior year, St. Lifer interned under Darner at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay as the Director of Player Development for the men’s basketball program.

After graduating from FSC, St. Lifer worked as the Director of Basketball Analytics at Bryant before becoming an assistant coach at Le Moyne College for the 2019-20 season. St. Lifer then returned to Bryant as the Director of Basketball Operations.

Florida Southern was always on his mind.

“I’ve come a long way in a variety of ways,” St. Lifer said. “I started as a manager, and then when coach Donnelly came in, he elevated me to being on the team. Being back here now makes me reflect on my journey and the amount of people I’ve had in my corner from the first time I stepped on campus. I told all the coaches that they’ve given me all my best friends, people that were in my wedding, I owe the world to you guys.”

St. Lifer would be remiss if he did not mention the impact that Bryant head coach Jared Grasso has also had on his life. While it was difficult to leave Grasso and Bryant just weeks before the regular season began, St. Lifer knew Grasso would understand his decision.

“When they called me, I had a conversation with Coach Grasso,” St. Lifer said. “You meet a lot of people in the network. I consider the coaches here family, they have a big part of who I became as a person. Forget coaching and playing, this is a life thing. They’ve always been there for me, and they are a big part of who I am. When they called me to come work with them, everything came full circle. I knew it was a decision I had to take advantage of.”

The Florida Southern College men’s team will begin its regular season at 5:45 p.m. on Nov. 5 against Flagler College in the Small College Basketball Hall of Fame Classic, held in the George W. Jenkins Field House at Florida Southern. You can view the full schedule here.

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