The Syracuse Orangemen and St. John’s Red Storm just suffered opening round losses in the NCAA tournament, so March Madness came into those two schools like a lion but disappeared in 40 minutes last night with nary a whimper, for the legendary basketball programs used to greater successes in the past.
The coaches of these programs, the guys who made the programs legendary in the first place, Jim Boeheim, the Hall of Famer for his coaching, and Chris Mullin, who was a Hall of Fame player at St. John’s but has yet to prove he has the same skills as a head coach, are now under fire, from alums and from the media who cover the schools.
Boeheim, 74, has spent his entire adult life at Syracuse University as a student, player, assistant coach or head coach for 58 consecutive years, beginning in 1962. He’s been leading the Orange for 46 years, guiding
them to ten Big East regular season championships, five Big East Tournament championships, and 33 NCAA Tournament appearances, including five Final Four appearances and three appearances in the national title game. In those games, the Orange lost to Indiana in 1987 on a last-second jump shot by Keith Smart, and to Kentucky in 1996, before defeating Kansas in 2003 with All-American Carmelo Anthony.
Mullin, one of the greatest players in NBA history and, the greatest player ever to play at St. John’s, has been leading the Red Storm since 2016, taking over a moribund program that had not won an NCAA tournament game since 2000 and whose best years were in the 1980s, when Chris Mullin was playing for the legendary Lou Carnesecca.
With two years left on his contract, Mullin fully plans on fulfilling his deal to lead his alma mater.
“100 percent,” he said, when asked if he planned to return next year following his team’s disappointing 74-65 loss to Arizona State in the First Four at University of Dayton Arena on Wednesday night.
Mullin just led St. John’s to its first winning season in four years, leading the Red Storm (21-13) to its first NCAA Tournament in five years. But many (mostly in the local NYC media) believe more was expected this season than finishing 8-10 in the Big East and losing a play-in game in the tournament.
His top two players, Shamorie Ponds and Mustapha Heron, could go pro after they both tested the NBA draft waters last spring. Marvin Clark II will graduate. Next year’s team may look very different.
So, the wolves are out for these two legends.
What would you do, if you were running these programs? Let us know, below.