COLLEGEVILLE - John Gagliardi joked with reporters and acted surprised by the attention he was getting at a news conference this (Monday) afternoon.

Earlier in the day St. John's University announced Gagliardi's retirement on the school's website.  Gagliardi says he's grateful for his long career.

Gagliardi says the team's 5-5 finish this year had a little to do with his decision to call it a career.

Gagliardi says he's considered retiring for the past several years.   He turned 86 earlier this month.

He just finished his 60th season at St. John's, and his 64th year coaching college football.  He retires with 489 wins, 138 losses, and 11 ties.  He's the winningest coach in all of college football, and won four national titles.

Gagliardi's retirement was such big news today it even was acknowledged by the White House.  When he was asked about that at the news conference, Gagliardi reacted by joking he didn't vote for President Obama, but now he might have to change his vote.

 

Peggy Gagliardi, John's wife, talks with reporters and John looks on. Photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

Reaction to Gagliardi's retirement:
Gagliardi's grandson, Robbie Benson, says it's not his accomplishments on the football field that mean the most to him.

Pete Schwarz is a third year player for the Johnnies.  He says the team found out about the retirement via an email this (Monday) morning.  He says he joined the team in his sophomore year and had to get used to having a different player-coach relationship.

Wade Powers is a tight end, and a 5th year player.  He says John will be missed.

What's next for St. John's Football:
St. John's Athletic Director Tom Stock says they're putting together a search committee to look at both internal and external candidates.  He says he's hoping to have the next St. John's football coach hired by the end of the year.