By Charles Glover, Jr.
On Wednesday, April 1, 2015, less than one week after declining to extend the contract of basketball coach Steve Lavin, St. John’s University introduced their most respected former player, Chris Mullin, as their next head coach. The Red Storm improved under former head coach Steve Lavin and the school hopes to take that success even further with the Mullin. The St. John’s alum was hired 30 years to the day he led the school to the final four of the NCAA tournament in 1985.
“It’s great to be home,” said Mullin after he was introduced in his new job. “I still think that St John’s needs to be first and foremost a New York City Team. We need to make our campus proud, our alumni proud and the whole city of New York proud of St. John’s University.” When he was asked about his lack of coaching skills Mullin had a quick response. “My resume as a player is separate from my career in coaching, starting now. I don’t think that one will tarnish the other and hopefully it will promote and improve it and make it better.”
Thrilled former St. John’s Coach Lou Carnesecca, who coached Mullin during St John’s basketball heyday, could not contain his excitement. “There’s a buzz in New York,” he said. “It’s clear, people are happy about it and it’s St. John’s University.”
Mullin has been working as an executive in the NBA for the last few seasons, as a general manager and an advisor. A lack of head coaching experience has been highlighted as a potential hurdle for Mullin as he hopes to show that his basketball prowess will translate to the bench. St. John’s is hoping that Mullin will have as much success as a first time coach as fellow alum Mark Jackson did with the Golden State Warriors.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing Mullin is on the recruiting trail. Mullin is a Hall of Fame basketball player with deep New York City roots but he is not a high-profile personality. Mullin will have to do a much better job retaining New York City area NBA talent. There may not be as many New York City area players making it to the NBA at this time, but St. John’s needs to be able to land them if the program is to be restored to it highest achievement point of the mid 1980’s, which was the message Mullin delivered at his energetic introductory press conference.–OnPointPress.net–