There’s a new storm brewing within St. John’s basketball.
Hometown hero Chris Mullin will coach in his first regular-season game on Friday against Wagner with sky-high expectations to fill.
Coming off a year in which the Red Storm won its first tournament game since 2011, arguably the greatest player in the history of St. John’s basketball is tasked with turning the program into a consistent contender in the Big Dance.
The Brooklyn native is the school’s all-time leading scorer and brings a vast knowledge of the game at a high level from his days as an NBA player and executive.
How that will translate to the collegiate stage is never obvious, and the pressure is on for Mullin to perform in a place where he was once so heralded.
Other coaches before him have returned to their alma maters to varying levels of success. Here is a look at how some of them fared on the sidelines.
Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)
A true Syracuse lifer, Boeheim was a freshman walk-on for the basketball team in 1962 and worked his way up to a co-captainship his senior year. Three years later he was hired as a graduate assistant and in 1976 he was appointed head coach.
His many remarkable achievements in the Carrier Dome – 31 tournament appearances, four Final Four berths and one NCAA title – have been overshadowed more recently by scandal.
NCAA penalties for academic misconduct and failure to enforce the school’s drug policy were hammered down on Boeheim in March, ensuring that he will not be coaching the first nine games of the upcoming season while also taking away 12 scholarships and vacating 108 wins from the team’s victory trove.
Roy Williams (UNC)
Unlike Boeheim, Williams’ playing career at UNC wasn’t much to write home about.
Like his Syracuse counterpart, Williams and the Tar Heels have also become wrapped up in scandal.
Long before any of that, though, he was a member of the freshman basketball team at North Carolina. By the time sophomore year rolled around, Williams was essentially the team manager, taking notes and keeping statistics for legendary coach Dean Smith.
Williams made a brief return to his alma mater in 1978 as an assistant coach before launching his head coaching career at Kansas. In 15 seasons there, he won 418 games and appeared in two national championships without a win (one of those losses came at Boeheim’s expense).
In 2003 he returned to North Carolina, this time as the head coach, and soon transformed the Tar Heels – who were coming off two dismal seasons – into a perennial powerhouse.
Two seasons in, Williams brought the school a national title, and another one followed shortly after in 2009.
With his team now under scrutiny for an academic scandal, Williams may soon be joining Boeheim on the list of college coaches who have fallen from grace.
Fred Hoiberg (Iowa State)
Nicknamed “The Mayor” after receiving some write-in votes during the 1993 Ames, Iowa mayoral race, Hoiberg has made an indelible mark on Iowa basketball.
He was a star for four years as a player at Iowa State and remains third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,993 points. His no. 32 jersey was retired by the Cyclones.
Hoiberg went on to play 10 years in the NBA before a brief stint in the Timberwolves’ front office. In 2010 he made his triumphant homecoming, taking over for Greg McDermott as head coach at Iowa State.
Under Hoiberg, the 2010-11 Cyclones enjoyed their first bid to the Big Dance since 2005.
After becoming the fastest coach in Iowa State history to reach 100 wins, the Cyclones were upset in the first round of the 2015 NCAA tournament and Hoiberg quickly jumped ship for the spoils of an NBA head coaching position.
He is currently 5-3 with the Chicago Bulls.
Kevin Ollie (UConn)
He had big shoes to fill.
When Ollie took over for Jim Calhoun in 2012, it was a significant change. At 70 years old, Calhoun was leaving the team he had coached for the past 26 seasons in the hands of a 40-year-old.
Ollie was a big-time Big East player under coach Calhoun in the early 1990s, totaling 825 points and 619 assists in his four-year career. He enjoyed a lengthy NBA stay that came to a close in 2010, just two years before he returned to the Huskies.
Despite the pressure of living up to his former coach weighing down on Ollie, he rebounded from a disappointing inaugural season by winning the NCAA title in 2014 with a team that lacked any real NBA star potential.
Jim Harbaugh (Michigan)
Michigan football badly needed a turnaround, so it gave the former Wolverine quarterback with the now famous name a chance.
The program is 11 years removed from its last Big Ten championship and missed bowl games altogether in 2008, 2009 and 2014.
Whether Harbaugh proves to be the Michigan Messiah (he is currently 7-2) remains to be seen, but the university can take solace in the fact that at least the man tackling this difficult task is one of their own.
And he’s used to success in blue and gold. Harbaugh was the starting quarterback for two seasons at Michigan, finishing third in the Heisman vote in 1986 while also winning Big Ten Player of the Year that season.
Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern)
Fitzgerald couldn’t get enough of Northwestern as an undergraduate.
When he took over as head coach of the Wildcats in 2006, he had spent 10 of the previous 13 seasons as either a Northwestern player or assistant coach.
He was a two-time All-American linebacker and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year as a Wildcat from 1994-1996.
As head coach, he led Northwestern to its first Bowl game victory since 1948.
Mike Shula (Alabama)
Shula’s alma mater was not particularly kind to him.
After quarterbacking the team for two solid years, Shula served some time as an assistant coach in the NFL before finding his way back to the Crimson Tide.
Not unlike Harbaugh’s arrival in Michigan, Shula’s came at a crucial turning point for Bama. They had missed a Bowl game the previous year and had only won one in the previous six seasons.
He failed to get the job done, though, finishing his four-season stint with just one above .500 record. Alabama fired him in 2006, and Shula returned to the NFL, where he is currently the offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers.
Troy Calhoun (Air Force)
Air Force may not be a powerhouse football program, but Calhoun has brought it some respect.
The Falcons slugged through three losing seasons before Calhoun piloted the team to nine wins in his first season as the head man. Ten victories in 2014 were the team’s most since 1998.
More importantly, perhaps, is the experience Calhoun brings as a three-year Air Force football alum – he understands what it takes to balance two grueling schedules.
“Understanding why you have high admissions,” he told ESPN. “Knowing that you’re not going to play in the NFL when you’re done at the academy. You’re going to serve as an officer in the Air Force.”
With the stakes beyond football that much higher, Calhoun is best suited to guide his players on and off the field.
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With Chris Mullin set to coach his first game at St. John’s, a look at other college coaches who returned to their alma maters have 1416 words, post on www.nydailynews.com at November 12, 2015. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.