For a second time in the storied history of St. John’s basketball, the Chris Mullin era is over.
The school’s greatest player “stepped down” as head coach Tuesday after four years on the job, citing a “personal loss.”
Though the program progressed under the former Warriors swingman during his time on the sideline, the results fell far short of his four sensational seasons on the court.
Athletic director Mike Cragg announced the decision, noting Mullin’s “contributions” and “deep passion for this program,” but did not detail reasons for the move.
Mullin, however, said in a separate statement he had suffered a “recent personal loss,” without elaborating. His older brother, Roddy, died last month at 58 after dealing with cancer for years. Gerard Richard Mullin played basketball at Siena from 1979 through ’83.
Mullin, 55, had two years remaining on his contract. He was coming off his first winning season and only trip to the NCAA Tournament, an accomplishment he described as a “lifetime memory.” The Red Storm lost to Arizona State in a First Four game last month.
Mullin called this an “extremely emotional decision.”
“I took time to reflect upon my true values and believe this is the right time to make a change,” he said. “I am extremely grateful to the administration, which has supported me and our basketball program on every level.”
Bobby Hurley, the Arizona State head coach with a New Jersey background, reportedly is a top target for St. John’s to replace Mullin.
The Red Storm went 59-73 under Mullin, including 20-52 in Big East play, after he replaced Steve Lavin in March 2015 and embarked on a substantial rebuild.
Mullin’s coaching tenure was highlighted by consecutive victories over top-five teams in February 2018: Duke and No. 1 Villanova, the eventual national champion.
UCLA hires Cronin: Mick Cronin was hired as UCLA’s head coach, ending a bumpy, months-long search to find a replacement for Steve Alford, who was fired Dec. 31.
Cronin agreed to a $24 million, six-year deal.
Cronin wasn’t the first choice of athletic director Dan Guerrero, who headed a search committee that included Warriors general manager Bob Myers, a former UCLA player.
The Bruins were interested in TCU’s Jamie Dixon, but couldn’t reach a deal because of his $8 million buyout. They then turned to Tennessee’s Rick Barnes, and again couldn’t come to terms.
“Throughout what was a thorough and exhaustive search, those of us on the committee repeatedly discussed and emphasized the importance of bringing in a coach who really wants to be here,” Myers said.
Cronin had a 296-146 record at Cincinnati, his alma mater, over 16 seasons and led the Bearcats to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last nine years. However, they made it past the first two rounds just once during Cronin’s tenure, earning a Sweet 16 berth in 2012.
Briefly: Kellie Harper, who played on three consecutive Tennessee women’s national championship teams under Pat Summitt from 1996 through ’98, was hired by the Lady Vols as head coach to replace the fired Holly Warlick. Harper just coached Missouri State to a surprise Sweet 16 appearance. … An average of 19.6 million people watched on CBS as Virginia beat Texas Tech in the NCAA Tournament championship game, an increase of 23% over last year when the title game between Villanova and Michigan averaged 16.5 million on TBS, TNT and TruTV.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Chris-Mullin-quits-as-St-John-s-head-coach-13754777.php.