Paul DeStefano, one of the longest-tenured high school boys’ basketball coaches in the Washington area, will not return as coach at St. John’s. The school confirmed the news Thursday evening after The Post reported DeStefano’s dismissal.

“On behalf of the entire St. John’s community, we are grateful for Paul DeStefano and all that he has accomplished at the school,” school President Jeffrey Mancabelli said in a news release. “He has been an outstanding coach for the past 16 years. After careful consideration, we have decided to move the program in a new direction.”

DeStefano had coached 16 seasons at St. John’s and guided the Cadets to a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship in 2000 and The Post’s No. 4 final ranking in 2006-07. St. John’s went 18-13 this past season, including a victory over then-undefeated Gonzaga on Jan. 29, and finished fourth in the WCAC. It was the Cadets’ third consecutive winning season.

In all, DeStefano has been a head coach locally for 37 years, spending time at Bishop Ireton, Mackin, Georgetown Prep and Seneca Valley. He turned 60 earlier this month.

DeStefano “was shocked, he was disappointed and slightly embarrassed — he had never been fired,” one source said. “I’m sure they’ll word it differently. I’m sure there is anger, disappointment, a myriad of emotions. . . . He’s not retiring. However, they wordsmith it, they’re going in a different direction.”

In his 16 seasons at St. John’s, Paul DeStefano, shown here in a Dec. 2009 game, coached three All-Mets: Julian DeBose (2011), Chris Wright (2005-07) and Dwayne Anderson (2004). (Mark Gail/THE WASHINGTON POST)