Yesterday rumors began to swirl that Chris Mullin, head coach of the St. John’s Red Storm men’s basketball team, would be stepping down later this week. This afternoon, those rumors were confirmed.
“We thank Coach Mullin for all of his contributions to our men’s basketball program,” said athletic director Mike Cragg in a statement. “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.”
Mullin, who returned to his Alma matter in 2015, finally got his team back to the NCAA Tournament this past March, losing in the First Four to Bobby Hurley and Arizona State. Hurley, ironically, is one of the names that have been floated around as Mullin’s replacement.
“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,” said Mullin in a statement.
The personal loss Mullin is referring to is the loss of his brother Roddy, who passed away on March 9th. His older brother was his inspiration.
“He was my first guy I looked up to in sports,” said Mullin. “He was the guy we all wanted to emulate.”
Chris followed his older brother into basketball, attending Power Memorial and playing for Riverside Church. Roddy went on to play for Siena, while Chris ended up at St. John’s.
Even though he was sick, he wouldn’t let Chris miss any games, including the team’s game at Xavier, the same night that Roddy passed away.
But Chris kept on coaching and led the Red Storm back into the Tournament for the first time since the 2014- 2015 season.
“I am extremely grateful to the administration, which has supported me and our basketball program on every level… I’ve been honored to coach the young men who are the heart and soul of this program. It’s a job I will always cherish. I am proud of our accomplishments. NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday will be a lifetime memory. I am forever grateful to St. John’s for giving me the opportunity to hear Carnesecca Arena and Madison Square Garden roar again for college basketball and especially for our players. I will always support St. John’s University in keeping our basketball tradition alive!”