SMC — Legendary Santa Monica College basketball coach John McMullen — one of 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 school officials said.
McMullen joins such sports luminaries as Olympic gold medalist 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.
The induction ceremony, sponsored by the SMC Foundation, will be held before the men’s basketball home game against West Los Angeles College Saturday, Jan. 16.
“The Sports Hall of Fame brings deserved attention to the outstanding programs and rich sports traditions of Santa Monica College,” said SMC Foundation Executive Director Dr. JoAnn McLin Ortiz. “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, of Brentwood, retired as coach at SMC in 2004 after 25 years of coaching at SMC but continued teaching physical education until his full retirement in 2007.
Inducted into the California Community College’s men’s Basketball Association Hall of Fame in 2005, he was named state coach of the year twice and Western States Conference coach of the year four times.
He guided SMC to the state championship round five times and the Western State Conference title six times. With a .689 winning percentage, he tallied a total of 529 wins, joining a handful of coaches nationwide who have passed the 500-win mark.
More than 150 of McMullen’s players transferred to colleges and universities throughout the U.S., including the University of Oregon, American University in Washington, D.C., and Claremont-McKenna in Claremont. One player, Anthony Frederick, made it to the NBA, playing for the Indiana Pacers and Sacramento Kings.
At a reunion with former players in 2005, McMullen was praised 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 36-year-old David Sternlight, who played at SMC in 1991-93 and went on to play at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and in Israel. “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.”
After retiring from SMC he served two years as assistant coach at New Mexico State University, completing a 45-year teaching/coaching career.
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. He is married and has two grown sons.