Updated Tue, Apr 3, 2012 6:11 pm
Ohio University Director of Athletics Jim Schaus named Jim Christian as the 17th head coach in school history of the Ohio men’s basketball program on Tuesday. Christian comes in with 10 years of head coaching experience after coaching at both Kent State University and TCU.
"If our vision is to be the premier program in the conference, that takes great leadership,” said Schaus.
Coaching in the Mid-American conference is very familiar to Christian. As the head coach of the men’s basketball program at Kent State from 2002-08, Christian earned a record of 138-58 - the highest winning percentage in Mid-American Conference history. The Bethpage, N.Y. native won 20-or-more games in each of his six seasons and led the Flashes to five postseason appearances. Among those post season appearances were two trips to the NCAA tournament in 2006 and 2008 after winning the MAC Tournament. He earned MAC Coach of the Year honors in both of those seasons. The MAC tournament is something that Christian is used to and something that he is ready to get back to again.
“I missed the MAC tournament and being part of that,” Christian said. “Its a great experience with great players. Its the best thing for me."
Christian moved on to TCU after his historic run at Kent State and spent the next four years as the head coach of the Horned Frogs. Christian’s TCU teams went 56-73. The Horned Frogs posted their first winning season under Christian this past year with a mark of 18-15, wins and an appearance to the College Basketball Invitational this past season. The postseason appearance was the first for the Horned Frogs since 2005. His teams were 11-22 in 2010-2011, 13-19 in 2009-2010, and 14-17 in 2008-2009.
Christian inherits the winningest Ohio men’s basketball team in program history, and will not lose any seniors to graduation.
“You want to follow people that are successful because they have already built that culture,” Christian said referring to the success of former Ohio coach John Groce and the team.
Christian was first contacted about the job from a mutual friend last Wednesday and sat down and visited with Schaus on Friday. The two sides had a deal in place Monday morning according to Christian. The new head coach met with his players this morning and is ready to get out on the court.
“It's 230 days until October 15th, Christian said. “I'll be the first person in the gym that day...I hope to get the players on the floor [this week],” Christian said. “It is the best way for them to understand me as a coach for me for understand them as players.”
Christian’s contract is for five years with a base salary of $425,000 per year.
“I can tell you that our new captain of our ship is an individual that is going to take our program to new levels,” Schaus said.