By Daniel Friedman
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Nostalgia is in the air!
With Chris Mullin returning to St. John’s, we take a look at 10 local athletes who came back to lead their former teams:
10. John MacLean, Devils
One of the leading scorers in franchise history, his tenure as Devils’ coach didn’t quite go as well. MacLean was hired in June 2010, and fired just three months into the season.
9. Jason Kidd, Nets
Coached the Nets to the playoffs, then bailed. It was ugly, and it’s something Nets fans won’t forgive him for so easily — even if they do love him.
8. Butch Goring, Islanders
Goring, the “missing piece” of the Islanders’ dynasty of the 1980s, returned to coach the team for the 1999-2000 season and wasn’t fired until March of 2001. It was hardly his fault they stunk. Needless to say, his place in the hearts of Isles fans is still very much intact.
7. Dick McGuire, Knicks
A better player than a coach, to be sure, but McGuire’s return to the Knicks was certainly welcomed.
6. Bud Harrelson, Mets
It started off well, as he replaced Davey Johnson as manager a quarter of the way into the 1990 season. The Mets finished with over 90 wins, and things were looking good. However, 1991 did not go as well, the Mets collapsed, and Harrelson was fired with about a week to go.
5. Yogi Berra, Yankees
Managed the Yankees to the 1964 World Series, where they lost in seven games to St. Louis. Was subsequently fired.
4. Phil Esposito, Rangers
Was the Rangers’ GM and coach during parts of the 1980s, and became known as “Trader Phil.” That wasn’t necessarily a compliment.
3. Willis Reed, Knicks
Coached the Knicks for one full season (1977-78) and then, only 14 games into the following year, he was gone.
2. Joe Girardi, Yankees
The former backup catcher turned manager led the Yanks to a World Series title in 2009. His decisions are often met with much skepticism and criticism, but he’s done really solid work during his tenure.
1. Chris Mullin, St. John’s
The prodigal son returns. Mullin, the school’s all-time leading scorer, is set to coach the Red Storm. It should be interesting, and I think it’ll turn out well.