Legendary coach honored with naming of EHS gym
Ray Mullins was the backbone of Emmett High basketball for two decades. He wouldn’t want to be called the face of EHS hoops fortunes as he was consistent in diverting the attention away from himself and onto his players throughout his storied coaching career.
Friday night the Emmett community gathered at Huskie Gymnasium to push Mullins to the forefront where he belongs. In a ceremony at halftime of a boys basketball game—one that was relatively brief and would have been to his liking—the facility was official renamed Ray Mullins Gymnasium.
Ironically, Mullins never coached in that gymnasium. Emmett’s winningest basketball coach retired in 1979 before the current Emmett High was built. From 1960 until his retirement, however, he built Huskie basketball into a consistent contender and often champion. Over those years his teams won 329 games and only tasted 94 defeats.
Included in those wins were ten conference championships, six district championships, nine State tournament appearances and one State Championship.
The 1965 Championship is the only State basketball title that Emmett has brought home since the creation of the Idaho Activities Association and formal state tournaments. The 1940 team earned a Class A title in a different format and informal organization.
The local press often didn’t refer to the 1965 team as Huskies or Emmett. They were always “Mullins Boys.” Not a title he was entirely comfortable with on the surface, but perhaps one most fitting for his style of coaching and mentorship.
Mullins was more comfortable coaching from the bench, not tirading up and down the court, keeping the focus on his players and their focus on the fundamentals of the game.
Ray Mullins passed away May 14, 2021 of congestive heart failure. He was raised in Stibnite and Emmett, graduating from EHS in 1950. He was a stellar athlete himself, later playing basketball and baseball at Boise Junior College and later at the College of Idaho.
Mullins had the privilege of being teammates of Elgin Baylor and R.C. Owens at the C of I often rooming with Owens on road trips. After graduating from C of I he began teaching and coaching at Middleton and in 1960 came back home to Emmett to teach U.S. history and coach basketball.
His consistency in coaching fundamentals was evident in comments made during Friday night’s naming ceremony. The friendships and life-lessons attributed to Mullins by those present perhaps reflected best on his nature and his own focus.
In addition to coaching basketball for 19 years in a manner that earned recognition and respect from his peers, including induction into the Idaho High School Activities Association Hall of Fame in 1994, he had a broader view of coaching and teacher.
Besides basketball, he coached baseball, girls softball and golf over his 34-year teaching career at Emmett. It was estimated that he tutored over 5,400 kids that passed through his classroom.
Scott McGann, an EHS alum who didn’t play under Mullins but experienced him in the classroom, emceed the ceremony and headed up the efforts to make the evening and the naming a reality. He commented on Mullins humility noting that he “wouldn’t want to make a big deal out of this.”
Regardless, the permanency of the recognition now on the north wall of the gymnasium, is fitting for one who left such a permanent influence on thousands.