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St. John's Hires Mike Anderson As New Head Coach

369-200 In 17 Seasons As NCAA Head Coach

April 19, 2019 - 2:06 pm
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By WFAN.com

It took a bit longer than expected, but St. John's finally has their new head coach. They came to terms late Thursday night with former Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson, who was introduced in a news conference Friday. 

Anderson, 59, was let go by Arkansas after an 18-16 season, which ended in a loss in the second round of the NIT. He coached eight seasons there and made the NCAA Tournament three times. Prior to that, he coached at Missouri for five seasons, making the NCAA Tournament three times, which included an appearance in the Elite 8. Prior to Missouri, he coached four seasons at UAB, making the NCAA Tournament three of the four years. 

Overall, Anderson has an impressive 369-200 career record in 17 seasons, making it to the Big Dance nine times and getting to the NIT three times. He's never coached a team that finished below .500. Prior to becoming the UAB head coach, Anderson spent almost two decades as an assistant coach at Arkansas under Nolan Richardson, including in 1994 when they won the national title and the 1995 runner-up team.

Related: Cluess Withdraws From St. John's Coaching Search

Anderson seemed eager to get going when he met with the press on Friday.

"We’re going to pick them up when they get off the bus," Anderson told the media. "We’re going to press, press, press. You’re going to see a team that’s very entertaining ... We’re going to play exciting basketball for two hours."

Anderson replaces Chris Mullin, who went 59-73 in four mostly disappointing seasons as the Red Storm's head coach, which included just this year's tourny appearance. The Anderson hire ends a 10-day coaching search since Mullin "stepped down" as coach on April 9. 

St. John's reportedly interviewed Anderson, Yale coach James Jones and NBA scout and former Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt on Thursday, before going with the experienced Anderson, who has a strong track record. Arizona State Bobby Hurley passed on the job as did Loyola-Chicago's Porter Moser and Iona's Tim Cluess. 

Anderson has never coached in the northeast and will need to assemble a strong coaching staff around him to recruit some top local talent. There's a lot of work to be done for St. John's, coming off an NCAA Tournament loss in the first round to Arizona State.

Shamori Ponds is going to the NBA Draft and likely ends up with a team. Justin Simon declared as well and may not be back. Bryan Trimble Jr. and LJ Figueroa have enterted the transfer portal. Junior college recruits Cam Mack and Valdir Manuel have decommitted. Anderson has his work cut out for him.