Legendary player Chris Mullin is out after four seasons as head coach at St. John’s. It was a forgettable tenure even though he did wind up taking St. Johns to the NCAA tourney this past year. The Johnnies underachieved for much of his time, and ultimately it just didn’t work out – especially when new Athletic Director Mike Cragg took over.
Obviously, the job isn’t what it was back in the days of Louie Carnesecca when St. John’s went to the NCAA tourney 10 times in an 11-year span from 1982-92. Since then, the Johnnies have gone eight times. Brian Mahoney went in 1993, Fran Fraschilla in ’98, Mike Jarvis in ’99, 2000 and ’02, Steve Lavin in ’11 and ’15 and Mullin this season. St. John’s does have tradition, and while it’s not what it was, there are still players in the area. You’ve also got Madison Square Garden.
Mike Cragg – Cragg was hired as athletic director in Sept. 2018 after being a senior associate AD at Duke.
Men’s Basketball Hires: None
Rick Pitino – There’s just no way that Cragg can roll the dice on the Hall of Famer with the NCAA investigation into Louisville still ongoing.
Mark Jackson – The Mullin experiment was deemed a failure, and I just don’t envision Cragg going with another NBA guy — even though Jackson does, at least, have coaching experience.
TAKE A SWING
Bobby Hurley, Arizona State – Cragg had better come in with a big-time offer, because otherwise he’ll have no shot at bringing Hurley back to the New York area. Hurley has taken ASU to a couple of NCAA tourneys, but is from Jersey City, N.J. – so this is intriguing to him.
Frank Martin, South Carolina – Martin took South Carolina to a Final Four a couple years ago, but it’s a football school. There are two issues with this one: the money, and also whether Cragg would go this route with a big personality like Martin (even though it’s exactly what they need).
Mike Brey, Notre Dame – Here’s another one that would likely say “no thanks,” but should at least get a call. Maybe Brey is ready for a new challenge.
Tommy Amaker, Harvard – Amaker has made Harvard relevant in college hoops, and he loves it there. There’s the Duke connection, but I just don’t see Amaker leaving for this one.
Richard Pitino, Minnesota – Cragg can’t touch his father due to the ongoing NCAA-Louisville investigation, but the younger Pitino could be in play. He’s taken Minnesota to the NCAA tourney two of the last three seasons.
Jon Scheyer, Duke – The former Duke player and current assistant is certainly a name to watch, but this would be a difficult first job for him.
Tim Cluess, Iona – He’s done a tremendous job at Iona, but he’s 60 years old and could have difficulty recruiting at this level — especially without Jared Grasso on his staff.
James Jones, Yale – With the academic profile and his success in the Ivy recently, Jones might be someone Cragg could go after if he can’t get a big name. He’s gone to a pair of NCAA tournaments in the last four seasons.
Ryan Odom, UMBC – I’m not sure it’s the ideal fit, but he’s an easy sell with the look and also the fact that he made history a year ago by beating Virginia as a No. 16 seed.
Mike Rhoades, VCU – Rhoades took the Rams to the NCAA tourney this past season. He plays an up-and-down fast-paced style and has some experience with academic institutions, having coached at Rice from 2014-17.
Bobby Hurley – He’s the ideal pick, but I don’t think Cragg winds up getting him to leave Arizona State.
WHO I THINK THEY WILL WIND UP HIRING
Ryan Odom – This is just a complete guess, but I think Cragg will want a young up-and-comer — and Odom is just that.