John McMullen, who retired three years ago as the Santa Monica College men’s basketball coach following a Hall of Fame career, will be back on the court teaching the game again next season.
McMullen has agreed to be an assistant coach at New Mexico State, which hired Marvin Menzies as head coach after Reggie Theus left to coach the Sacramento Kings.
Menzie was an SMC assistant who took over as head coach in the 1996 season when McMullen took a break during his 25 years that produced 524 victories and a place in the Community College Hall of Fame.
“I know this is amazing news,” said McMullen, who had remained an instructor at SMC. “But Marvin and I worked very well together for eight years and remained close. I thought I was ready for my rocking chair but this is a perfect fit. The university level intrigues me.
“Marvin recruited me. He even had Lou Henson [former New Mexico State and Illinois coach] call me.”
McMullen will produce game plans and concentrate on strategy. He isn’t expected to do much recruiting.
Before coming to SMC, McMullen was an assistant at Brigham Young University from 1975 to 1978.
“A lot has changed in 30 years but I have familiarity with the university level and the big crowds,” he said.
Trevor Shickman was the SMC coach for three years following McMullen’s retirement and has been replaced by Jesse Teplitzky for the upcoming season.
McMullen said he plans to keep his residence here and rent in Los Cruces.
Before receiving the call from New Mexico, McMullen retired a week ago from full-time teaching at SMC and plans to teach just a few classes. His wife, Cathy, also recently retired from her job.
Since leaving SMC, Menzie has been an assistant at USC, San Diego State, UNLV and Louisville. A highly regarded young coach, he received a recommendation from Rick Pitino, one of college basketball’s best known coaches, upon applying at New Mexico State.
McMullen said his year off in ‘95 was extremely beneficial.
“Marvin coached the Corsairs to the conference championship and was voted Coach of the Year. I watched the games and made suggestions.
“That probably saved my career. I came back with a different outlook, more relaxed. I realized the players are trying their best and just need direction.”