NEW YORK — St. John’s has decided its basketball future rests with the best of its past.
Chris Mullin, St. John’s all-time leading scorer and still the face of its basketball program three decades after his career ended, has agreed to coach the Red Storm, a person with knowledge of the discussions told The Associated Press on March 30.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no formal announcement.
Mullin, who led St. John’s to the Final Four in 1985, has never coached at any level. He replaces Steve Lavin who agreed to leave last week, after five seasons during which the Red Storm reached the NCAA Tournament twice.
Lavin had an 81-55 record at St. John’s and the Red Storm went to the NCAA Tournament in his first and last seasons. His teams compiled a 2-9 postseason record in the Big East Tournament, NCAA and NIT. Lavin had one year left on his original six-year contract.
Mullin, a New York native, was a five-time All-Star with Golden State, a member of the USA’s gold-medal winning Dream Team in 1992 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. He was presented for induction by his coach at St. John’s, Hall of Famer Lou Carnesecca.
“This is a great day for St. John’s, the whole university,” Carnesecca said. “He has always represented St. John’s well and I’m sure he’ll do a fine job as coach. People seem to be worried about his lack of coaching experience but how many people have had the basketball education he has?”
It was during Mullin’s years at St. John’s that the program enjoyed its greatest days. Mullin and Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing were the key parts of the early domination of the Big East Conference.
In 1985 the Big East had three Final Four teams, St. John’s, Georgetown and national champion Villanova. The Redmen and Hoyas were both ranked No. 1 during the season.
Mullin and his sweet left-handed jumper became part of the lore of New York City basketball. The agreement was first reported by CBS Sports Network.
(JIM O’CONNELL, AP Basketball Writer)