Chris Mullin will return to his alma mater for his maiden coaching experience at the helm of St. John's basketball program.
J.P. Pelzman of The Record confirmed Monday that Mullin will be named the new coach of the Red Storm. Mullin starred for St. John's as a player from 1981-85, winning the John R. Wooden Award for national player of the year in 1985 before moving on to a successful NBA career.
St. John's formally announced the news Tuesday and provided comments from St. John's President Conrado "Bobby" Gempesaw:
We are very pleased to welcome back Chris Mullin to St. John's," said Gempesaw, "I know that Chris will be an inspiring coach for our basketball players and a great ambassador for St. John's University. His passion for the game and love for the university is a winning combination that will strengthen our basketball program, and support our efforts to ensure student success in academics and athletics.
St. John's also provided a statement from Mullin:
Obviously, it's a surreal experience coming home and returning to St. John's University. This is a role I have been preparing for all of my life," said Mullin. "There are so many people who have had a great influence on me to reach this point, especially my parents, Coach Carnesecca and my former teammates. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Gempesaw for providing me this tremendous opportunity to give back to the university where I spent some of the greatest years of my life.
Mullin will be paid handsomely, per Zach Schonbrun of the New York Times:
Jeff Borzello of ESPN reported that Matt Abdelmassih, an assistant at Iowa State will join Mullin's staff.
Although Mullin has front-office experience in the pros as the former general manager of the Golden State Warriors, this is the first time he'll serve as a coach in any capacity. He's also served as an ESPN analyst and was most recently an advisor to the Sacramento Kings.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 as part of the 1992 "Dream Team," and again in 2011 for his individual accomplishments.
ESPN's Bomani Jones weighed in on St. John's high-profile hire:
Former coach Steve Lavin and St. John's mutually agreed to part ways on March 27 after five seasons following the Red Storm's loss in the 2015 NCAA tournament's round of 64 to San Diego State.
For someone who has such a positive association with the program, Mullin will undoubtedly be embraced with open arms in his return to Queens, as he vies to take St. John's back to the heights it reached in the 1980s.
The fact that Mullin is an unproven commodity as a coach should afford him some patience as he gets settled in. His status as a St. John's legend will also buy him time, and Mullin figures to use his firsthand experience as a Red Storm player to his advantage on the recruiting trail.