Published Mon, Apr 2, 2012 1:06 pm Dateline
Jason Arkley of the Athens Messenger reported on Twitter on Monday that TCU head basketball coach Jim Christian will be announced as Ohio's new head basketball coach, replacing former Bobcat head man John Groce, now the head coach at Illinois.
Ohio Sports Information Director Tom Symonds confirmed that a press conference would be held at 2:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday to announce a new head coach, but wouldn't confirm to WOUB that it would in fact be Christian, who finished his fourth season with the Horned Frogs in March.
Arkley also reported that Ohio's current players met with Christian around 9:00 a.m. EST on Monday.
If the report is accurate, Ohio's coaching search will have been started and completed in four days (from Groce being announced at Illinois to when CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman first reported Christian-to-Ohio on Sunday night). At last week's press conference, Ohio Athletic Director Jim Schaus estimated that the search would take "a week to 10 days" and that all kinds of candidates would be considered. Schaus said the search would "be expedited...but certainly not rushed."
WOUB.org/sports will stream Tuesday's press conference live online, starting minutes before Ohio makes its coaching announcement.
Ohio State assistant coach Jeff Boals and current Ohio assistant Dustin Ford - the two most known candidates - were frequently rumored for Ohio's vacant job, but there is no confirmation that either or both were interviewed for the position.
Phone calls to Boals' cell phone were not answered or immediately returned. A message was left for Ford with Ohio basketball office administrative assistant Brenda White.
Christian coached at Kent State University from 2002-08. In his six-year tenure as the Golden Flashes' head man, Christian amassed a record of 138-58, which included at least 20 wins in each of his six seasons and two NCAA Tournament appearances (2006, 2008). Christian finished at Kent State with a conference record of 79-28, and his Golden Flashes never finished worse than second in the MAC East. His worst showing in conference came in the 2004-2005 season when Kent State went 11-7. Christian's KSU teams never won a postseason game.
Christian has not had the same success at TCU. In his four seasons in Fort Worth, his Horned Frogs' teams are a combined 56-73. Christian posted his first winning season this past year at TCU with a mark of 18-15. Previously his teams were 11-22 in 2010-2011, 13-19 in 2009-2010, and 14-17 in 2008-2009.
Groce has already begun to form his staff at UI. Paul Klee of The News-Gazette in Illinois reported that Groce has picked Jamall Walker to be his first coaching staff hire. The University of Illinois would not confirm that Groce has also been in talks with Ford to potentially bring his top Ohio assistant onto his staff in Champaign.