Mullins named new hoops coach at Harrison


Bill Mullins had been away from the sport he loves, the game of basketball, for a few years, ever since he resigned after his second stint as the head coach at Kearny High School.

And during that time, Mullins found out one thing _ he truly missed the game.

“I wanted to be a varsity head coach again,” said Mullins, who spent last season as a volunteer assistant to Bob Harbison at Nutley. “I didn’t know what was going to happen in the future, but I wanted to stay in the game of basketball.”
Mullins, who doubles as the head boys’ volleyball coach at Kearny, said that once Noel Colon stepped down as the head coach at Harrison, Mullins definitely had interest.

“Working with Bobby last year was a great experience,” Mullins said of his time with Harbison in Nutley. “It encouraged me to seek a head coaching position. I’m always thinking like a basketball coach, whether I’m refereeing or going to games. I knew that I was ready to get back into it.”

So the 60-year-old Mullins applied for the Harrison job, met with athletic director Kim McDonough Huaranga and the two agreed upon Mullins taking over the open position.

“I wasn’t worried about being able to handle it,” Mullins said. “I know what it involves. I always had the enthusiasm. I was just waiting for the opportunity. If an opportunity like this came along, I knew that I would be more than interested.”

Mullins said that his sons are a little older now, so there’s not a major drawback at home with his wife, Jacqueline.

“I have more time now with the boys older,” Mullins said. “I think I took Kearny as far as the team could go. We played some really competitive teams in a tough conference. I just have more time now with my family situation. Harrison is very close to Kearny. There are a lot of wonderful people in Harrison and Kim has done a great job there. I look forward to being aboard.”

Mullins met with his new team recently and was encouraged by the response.

“We also played in the Bloomfield summer league, so I got a sense of what they can do,” Mullins said. “They’re a good group of kids. I’m really looking forward to the season.”

Mullins, a Kearny native, has a vast experience in coaching basketball.

He was the girls’ head coach at Dickinson in Jersey City and led the Rams to the HCIAA championship game once before leaving to take the head girls’ coaching position at Queen of Peace.

Ironically, in 1986, Mullins was the head coach at Harrison, filling in on an interim basis.

Mullins left for Brazil, where he remained for five years, coaching at the American School of Rio de Janiero.

He was an assistant coach to the legendary Ted Fiore at Montclair State for one season, then got the job at Kearny, where he first stayed for five years, then left and returned for three more at Kearny.

And now, he’s taking over the program that borders Kearny, where he still teaches.

Mullins knows that the Blue Tide program took a major hit at the end of last season, when standout player Quincy Rutherford transferred to Marist of Bayonne.

“I can’t comment on Quincy, because he’s gone,” Mullins said. “We have to move on without him. I just want the kids to enjoy it, to enjoy playing, to have fun.”

Mullins said that he plans on implementing a fast-paced style of basketball, with running on offense and pressing and trapping on defense.

“I like to play up tempo,” Mullins said. “I like put pressure on the opponent and have people in the right place at the right time and in the right frame of mind. There’s no substitute for hard work. One of my goals is to just try to get them to become better players, that they should become confident in themselves as players.”

Needless to say, Mullins is ready for the challenge of coaching the Blue Tide.

“I’m excited about it,” Mullins said. “I want it to be exciting for the kids. It’s up to me to try to make ourselves ready to play and ready to play hard.”

Learn more about the writer ...

Jim Hague | Observer Sports Writer

Sports Writer Jim Hague was with The Observer for 20+ years — and his name is one of the most recognizable in all of sports journalism. The St. Peter’s Prep and Marquette alum kicked off his journalism career post Marquette at the Daily Record, where he remained until 1985. Following shorts stints at two other newspapers, in September 1986, he joined the now-closed Hudson Dispatch, where he remained until 1991, when its doors were finally shut.

It was during his tenure at The Dispatch that Hague’s name and reputation as one of country’s hardest-working sports reporters grew. He won several New Jersey Press Association and North Jersey Press Club Awards in that timeframe.

In 1991, he became a columnist for The Hudson Reporter chain of newspapers — and he remains with them to this day.

In addition to his work at The Observer and The Hudson Reporter, Hague is also an Associated Press stringer, where he covers Seton Hall University men’s basketball, New York Red Bulls soccer and occasionally, New Jersey Devils hockey.

He’s also doing work at The Morristown Daily Record, the very newspaper where his journalism career began.

During his career, he also worked for Dorf Feature Services, which provided material for the Star-Ledger. While there, he covered the New York Knicks and the New Jersey Nets.

Hague is also known for his announcing work — and he’s done PA work for Rutgers Newark and NJIT.

Hague is the author of the book “Braddock: The Rise of the Cinderella Man.”