Chris Mullin is leaving the front office of the Sacramento Kings to coach at his alma mater, St. John’s. He is one of the greatest players the school has ever had and was named Big East Player of the Year three times from 1982-1985.
The 51 year-old Mullin has never coached at any level. After his playing days, he also spent time in the front office of the Golden St. Warriors.
What Mullin lacks in coaching experience, he makes up for in playing experience. The Golden St. Warriors drafted Mullin seventh in 1985. His 16 year career started off slowly with Mullin admitting he was an alcoholic by the end of his third season. Between his fourth and eighth seasons, Mullin played in five straight All-Star Games from 1989 to 1993. Mullin won a Gold Medal with the 1984 Olympic Team and again in 1992 as a member of the Dream Team which was the first time the United States allowed professionals to represent their country in basketball during the Olympics. In 2010, Mullin was rightfully inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Mullin’s college coach, Lou Carnesecca, believes he has the ability to be a strong coach.
“People worry about the lack of experience, but Chris has been around so many great players and coaches,” Carnesecca said. “I told him, ‘If you ever stopped and wrote down everything you know about basketball, you would fill volumes.’ “
Carnesecca also believes Mullin’s decision to return to St. John’s is a life-changing step.
“We talked, and you have to understand this is a big thing for Chris, a major, major step,” Carnesecca said. “He had a good thing going [in Sacramento], where he could come and go as he wants. Now it’s a vocation. This is no longer a job, it’s a vocation.”
I think Mullin will make an outstanding coach although not all great players make good choices. I remember when Magic Johnson made a brief stint as coach of his beloved Los Angeles Lakers. Magic couldn’t understand why players didn’t have his same work ethic or will to win. The first few years will be rough bringing in recruits who may not even know Mullin’s basketball history.
Once Mullin begins the recruiting process, he needs to talk about his accomplishments as a player and how that translates to him being a strong teacher of the game. It also wouldn’t hurt to share how he played with Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Scottie Pippen to name a few. I would imagine Mullin has quite a few drills and stories to share with his teams and future recruits.
Good luck to Coach Mullin as he makes the transition into college basketball coach next season.
And that’s…as I See it!
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Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : Scott D. Mikulski