Thirty years after leading St. John’s to the highest point in program history with an appearance in the 1985 Final Four, Chris Mullin is returning home.
Director of Athletics Chris Monasch announced on Tuesday that the Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer and St. John’s basketball legend has been named the 20th head coach in the University’s storied 107-year men’s basketball history. A longtime NBA star and front office executive, Mullin transformed St. John’s into the top team in the nation during his venerable playing career in Queens.
A press conference to formally introduce Mullin as St. John’s head coach is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday at Carnesecca Arena. Fans can watch the press conference on ESPN3 produced by SJU-TV, St. John’s University’s broadcast platform.
“We are very pleased to welcome back Chris Mullin to St. John’s,” said Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, Ph.D., President, St. John’s University. “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.”
“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.”
“Today, we are proud to welcome home a true St. John’s and New York City sports icon,” said Monasch. “Three decades ago Chris Mullin led a resurgence of St. John’s basketball and since then we have admired his accomplishments in the professional ranks as a player and executive. As we embark on this next chapter of our storied history, it is with great pride and excitement one of our most revered student-athletes returns to take the reins of a program he once vaulted into the national spotlight.”
“I look forward to mentoring our current and future players, passing along knowledge and aiding in their development to help them reach their goals, similar to the impact Coach Carnesecca had on me thirty years ago,” said Mullin.
With nearly a decade of NBA front office experience, Mullin spent the last two seasons working for the Sacramento Kings organization as a senior advisor, providing guidance to owner Vivek Ranadivé and general manager Pete D’Alessandro regarding player transactions and supervising the organization’s college and overseas scouting program. Mullin previously served five years as the Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Golden State Warriors.
One of the great collegiate and NBA players of all time, Mullin was inducted into both the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. A two-time gold medalist who ranks seventh all-time on the USA Basketball Olympic scoring list, Mullin was first enshrined in Springfield in 2010 as a member of the 1992 United States Olympic team, also known as the original “Dream Team.” He was the ninth individual affiliated with St. John’s basketball program to be inducted into the national hall.
The most-decorated player in program history, Mullin is St. John’s all-time scoring leader with 2,440 career points, starring at the University from 1981-85 under Hall of Fame Head Coach Lou Carnesecca. Mullin gave New York a four-year period to rival any other, leading St. John’s to four-straight NCAA Tournaments. He was a two-time All American who also garnered consensus First Team All-America honors as a senior.
“When it was time to choose a college, it was an easy choice,” Mullin explained during his 2011 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement speech. “I packed a bag, went 12 miles down the Belt Parkway and went to St. John’s University. I chose the best coach, the best city and I played in The World’s Most Famous Arena. “
Mullin is the only player in conference history to be named BIG EAST Player of the Year three times (1983-85). He is also just one of three players to win the Haggerty Award three times, an honor bestowed upon the best collegiate player in New York City. A member of the 1984 United States Olympic team, Mullin took home his first gold at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles.
In his final season at St. John’s, Mullin averaged 19.8 points to lead the program to its second Final Four and its first No. 1 ranking since 1951. Mullin received the John R. Wooden Award at the conclusion of the 1984-85 campaign as the nation’s top player. He was also named the Player of the Year by both United Press International and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.
Mullin not only was the first St. John’s player to reach 2,000 points, but he set career records for steals, field goals, and was top five in assists. He still holds St. John’s career free-throw percentage and free-throws made records (84.7 pct, 682-of-805), and ranks in the top 10 in program history for 17 different statistical categories.
St. John’s conferred Legacy Honors upon Mullin in 2005, permanently enshrining his No. 20 above Carnesecca Arena and at Madison Square Garden during St. John’s home games. Mullin was inducted into the St. John’s Athletics Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2015.
Selected by the Golden State Warriors with the seventh-overall pick in the 1985 NBA Draft, Mullin spent 13 years of his 16-season NBA career with the organization. He became the sixth player in franchise history to have his jersey number retired with his No. 17 hoisted to the rafters of Golden State’s Oracle Arena on March 19, 2012.
Mullin scored 17,911 points over his career playing for the Golden State Warriors (1985-97, 2000-01) and Indiana Pacers (1997-2000). Mullin guided Golden State to five playoff appearances, and is joined by fellow Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain as the only two Warriors to average 25.0 points per game in five-straight seasons (1988-93).
He is one of only two Warriors to average 25.0 points per game in five-consecutive seasons (1988-93), the other being fellow Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain, helping Golden State to five straight playoff appearances.
Mullin was a five-time NBA All-Star for the Warriors (1989-93) and garnered All-NBA honors four times, including a selection to the All-NBA First Team in 1992. He averaged 18.2 points per game throughout his career while shooting 50.9 percent from the field and 86.5 percent from the free-throw line. Mullin still holds several Warriors franchise records including games played (807) and steals (1,360), and is fourth on the team’s career scoring list.
Following his NBA playing career, Mullin worked in the Warriors’ front office from 2002-09 and was named Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations on April 22, 2004. In this role, Mullin oversaw day-to-day operations, including college and international scouting, salary cap management and preparations for the NBA Draft. Mullin served as an NBA analyst for ESPN and ESPN radio for three years before joining the Sacramento Kings’ front office on September 5, 2013 as Advisor to the Chairman.
One of New York City’s greatest players, Mullin is among the most recognizable figures in the history of Big Apple basketball. The lefty from Brooklyn began his high school career at Power Memorial before starring at Xaverian for his final two years. Mullin led Xaverian on a run to a New York State Championship in 1981 and was named New York State’s “Mr. Basketball” and a McDonald’s All American that same year.
Born and raised in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, Mullin and his wife, Liz, who is an alumna of St. John’s, have four children, Sean, Christopher, Liam and Kiera.
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