Loyola’s Bryan Mullins named Southern Illinois’ 14th head basketball coach

By Adam Warfel, Sports Editor

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Bryan Mullins, Loyola Ramblers associate coach and former Saluki guard, will officially be taking the helm as the fourteenth head men’s basketball coach, according to a SIU Athletics press release.

Mullins will be making $475,000 a year as part of his five year contract and becomes the highest paid employee at the Carbondale campus.

Comparatively, Illinois State’s Dan Muller makes a base salary of $564,000, Bradley’s Brian Wardle earned $434,000, Loyola’s Porter Moser made $420,000 and Northern Iowa’s Ben Jacobson, signed through 2027, makes an average wage of $900,000 per year, the Peoria Journal-Star reports.

Salary information for private schools lags two years behind and is accessible through IRS Form 990, which each university must submit to the U.S. government.

Jerry Kill, SIU Director of Athletics, began a national search for a new head coach after former coach Barry Hinson stepped down following the team’s MVC Tournament loss against the University of Northern Iowa earlier this month.

“I visited with Bryan fairly early in the search process and he has everything you want in a coach,” Kill said. “His interview blew me away. When I walked out of there, it was easy to go to the next round of people, because he set the standard of what they had to be, and I couldn’t find anyone better, and I went all over the country.”

Mullins returns to Carbondale after working under Loyola Ramblers head coach Porter Moser for a span of five years.

“I am so happy for Bryan to get this opportunity to lead his alma mater,” Moser said. “I am so grateful for his friendship and loyalty working side-by-side with him for the last six years. He is a tireless worker in addition to being a first-class person and is a perfect fit to lead Southern Illinois University.”

Mullins was a standout guard in Saluki basketball, playing at the university from 2006 to 2009. In his time at Southern, he led the Salukis to a 29-7 record and a NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2007.

During his career at Southern Illinois, Mullins helped the Salukis rack up a 82-51 record and appear in two NCAA Tournaments, one NIT playoff and two Missouri Valley Conference championships.

Saluki fans which had the opportunity to see Mullins on the court remember his personality best encapsulated when Southern defended Drake from claiming the MVC title at SIU Arena in 2008.

“Other teams don’t win MVC championships on our court. We do,” Mullins said after the Salukis’ matchup against the Bulldog in 2008.

The Downers Grove native was a two-time MVC Defensive Player of the Year and was on the MVC All-Defensive Team team all four seasons he played with the Salukis. He was inducted into the Downers Grove Hall of Fame in 2015 and the Saluki Hall of Fame in 2018.

Mullins excelled not only on the court but also in the classroom. He graduated with a degree in finance and a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade-point average.

He is a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American, was named the 2009 MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Year and received the MVC President’s Council Academic Award.

Mullins joined Loyola’s staff as the director of basketball operations in 2013, but later served as an assistant coach. He was promoted to the Loyola Ramblers’ associate coach last year.

The Ramblers’ program took off during Mullins’ time at the university, putting up a 89-50 record, including 50 wins in his last two seasons.

Saluki fans might remember Mullins best during his playing days at SIU playing from 2006 to 2009 during the Chris Lowery and “Floorburn U” days.

“Bryan was one of the greatest players in Saluki history and created so many great memories for Saluki fans during his playing career,” Lowery said through a statement. “Now, I’m looking forward to him making those memories from the sideline.”

Kill said he is looking forward to the same mentality Mullins had on the floor and bringing it to the team.

“Bryan’s won at everything he’s ever done,” Kill said. “There’s no doubt in my mind he’s the right fit. Our teams will play hard and be tough.”

Mullins will be leading junior guards Aaron Cook and Eric McGill – the only two returning starters from this season, as well as as the only returning freshman guard Darius Beane.

A pep-rally introducing Mullins as the head coach is scheduled tomorrow at SIU Arena set for 5:00 p.m. Kill, Mike Reis and several former Salukis are set to make special video appearances.

This is a developing story which will be updated as more information becomes available.

Sports editor Adam Warfel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @warfel_adam.

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