Chris Mullin believed it was the “right time to make a change.”
Mullin, who decided to step down as the coach at St. John’s this week after four seasons, explained his decision — citing a “personal loss” — in a statement released Tuesday. Mullin’s older brother, Rod, died last month after a battle with cancer.
“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,” Mullin said. “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.”
Mullin, the best player in St. John’s history, was hired by his alma mater in March 2015 despite not having any coaching experience. The team struggled to a 38-60 record during his first three seasons but won 14 of its first 15 games in 2018-19.
The Red Storm, however, fell apart and then dropped four of their final five games. Their season ended with a loss to Arizona State in the First Four.
“The past four years at St. John’s University have been one of the most thrilling and challenging points of my career,” Mullin said in the statement. “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.”
St. John’s athletic director Mike Cragg praised Mullin for “all of his contributions” to the program.
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“St. John’s basketball progressed well during his tenure, culminating with a trip to the NCAA Tournament this past season,” Cragg said in a statement. “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.”
St. John’s top target to replace Mullin is Arizona State’s Bobby Hurley, according to multiple reports. The school also reportedly may consider Iona coach Tim Cluess.
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