Official: Chris Mullin steps down as St. John's head coach

Yahoo Sports
St. John's coach Chris Mullin has stepped down after four seasons at his alma mater. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
St. John's coach Chris Mullin has stepped down after four seasons at his alma mater. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Chris Mullin has stepped down from his role as head coach at St. John’s.

Mullin has been the head coach at his alma mater since 2015. This past season, his fourth, he led St. John’s to the NCAA tournament for the first time during his tenure. But the Red Storm lost to Arizona State at the First Four.

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The 2018-19 season was also Mullin’s first with a winning record.

Mullin’s primary qualification for the St. John’s job back in 2015 was his dazzling playing career at the school. He was a three-time Big East player of the year in the early 1980s. He went on to play 16 seasons in the NBA, and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.

“The past four years at St. John’s University have been one of the most thrilling and challenging points of my career. Today, I have chosen to ask President Gempesaw and the University to accept my decision to step down from coaching the St. John’s men’s basketball team,” Mullin said in a statement Tuesday.

“This has been an extremely emotional decision, but after a recent personal loss, I took time to reflect upon my true values and believe this is the right time to make a change. I am extremely grateful to the administration, which has supported me and our basketball program on every level.”

After retiring from playing in 2001, Mullin had spent time in NBA front offices. But he had no prior coaching experience when he took the job. In his first three seasons, the Red Storm went 8-24 (1-17 Big East), 14-19 (7-11), and 16-17 (4-14). Mullin’s tenure ends with an overall record of 59-73.

"We thank Coach Mullin for all of his contributions to our men's basketball program," SJU athletic director Mike Cragg said. "St. John's basketball progressed well during his tenure, culminating with a trip to the NCAA Tournament this past season.

“Coach Mullin has a deep passion for this program and he has been committed to helping our student-athletes achieve their goals on and off the court, so I know this was not an easy decision. We wish him and his family nothing but the best as he begins this new chapter of his life."

Bobby Hurley expected to be St. John’s top target

After news of Mullin’s impending resignation broke, CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein and Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported that current Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley is expected to be at the top of St. John’s wish list when it begins its search for Mullin’s replacement.

Hurley has been at Arizona State for four seasons. Hurley is the son of legendary high school coach Bob Hurley Sr., who won 26 state titles at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, just across the Hudson River from New York City.

Mike Cragg, St. John’s recently-hired athletic director, spent the majority of his career at Duke. Hurley was a star point guard at Duke in the early 90’s.

“Our search for the 21st head coach in the storied history of our basketball program is underway,” Cragg said. “We are committed to building a championship level program, so we will aggressively search for an experienced coach capable of running a high-level Division I team in New York City, someone who is ready to build upon the recent successes of our program with integrity by recruiting young men of high character.”

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