Duke’s deputy athletics director Mike Cragg has been officially been hired away by St. John’s where he’ll run the whole show as Director of Athletics.
It’s an interesting change and a big challenge in some respects. St. John’s is in New York, of course, and is a Catholic school which competes in the Big East.
There are limits to how St. John’s can build, for one thing, given the density of New York, and the challenges of building there. And the church itself is having multiple crises which adds to the challenges.
However, Cragg will find a school with a living, breathing basketball heart and that will be warm and familiar. He’ll get a chance to help rebuild one of America’s most historic programs in a city that has always been a Mecca for what Shooter in Hoosiers called the Greatest Game Ever Invented.
Historical program, wonderful city, endless tradition. It’s hard to turn down.
Small bonus: he gets to see St. John’s play Steve Wojciechowski’s Marquette team on a regular basis. And while we have no feelings about the future of Chris Mullin, like all coaches he will eventually be replaced. Cragg is plugged into the basketball world in a major way and will have a Rolodex anyone would envy, and some of the best resources anyone could hope for whenever it’s time to make a hire.
Cragg was highly praised by Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who said this: “Mike Cragg has played an enormous role in the growth of Duke basketball over the past three decades. Quite simply, Duke basketball would not be where it is without Mike. He has maintained a consistent, and critically important, voice within our program. In addition to his exemplary professionalism and unparalleled vision in the workplace, he has essentially been an extended member of our immediate family over the years. While we will miss Mike immensely here at Duke, this is an absolutely amazing hire by the leadership of St. John’s and an unbelievable opportunity for Mike and his wonderful family. We are extremely proud of him.”
As are many others.