Former Santa Monica College (SMC) head basketball coach John McMullen, among an elite group of coaches nationwide who tallied more than 500 wins in his career, will be inducted into the SMC Sports Hall of Fame Saturday, January 16th.
McMullen, of Brentwood, retired as coach at SMC in 2004 after 25 years of coaching but continued teaching physical education until 2007. After retiring from SMC, he served two years as assistant coach at New Mexico State University, completing a 45-year teaching/coaching career.
“The Sports Hall of Fame brings deserved attention to the outstanding programs and rich sports traditions of Santa Monica College,” SMC Foundation Executive Director Dr. JoAnn McLin Ortiz said. “It exemplifies the importance of saying ‘well done’ to those who have participated in those traditions and to those who will carry them on.”
McMullen joins such sports luminaries as Olympic track and field gold medallist and retired SMC professor Dr. Tommie Smith, four-time Olympic swimming gold medalist and SMC alumnus Lenny Krayzelburg, and Olympic track and field bronze medalist and SMC alumnus Johnny Gray in the hall of fame.
McMullen guided SMC to the Western State Conference title six times and the state championship round five times. He tallied 529 wins and a .689 winning percentage, joining a handful of coaches nationwide who have passed the 500-win mark.
The former coach was named Coach of the Year twice and Western States Conference Coach of the Year four times. McMullen was inducted into the California Community College’s men’s Basketball Association Hall of Fame in 2005.
More than 150 of McMullen’s players transferred to colleges and universities throughout the United States, including the University of Oregon, American University in Washington, D.C., and Claremont-McKenna in Claremont. One player, Anthony Frederick, played in the NBA for the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings before his death in 2004.
David Sternlight, who played at SMC in 1991-93 and went on to play at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and in Israel, praised McMullen not only for his skill as a coach but also for his mentorship.
“Quite honestly, in the 20-plus years I’ve played basketball, he’s the best coach I’ve ever had,” said Sternlight said. “He understands discipline and has the ability to bring together guys from all different walks of life. And his knowledge of the game is incredible.”
McMullen received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and health science from California State University at Northridge and a master’s in education from California Lutheran University.
The Hall of Fame induction ceremony, sponsored by the SMC Foundation, will be held before the men’s basketball home game against West Los Angeles College.