Christian takes the reigns of the Horned Frogs
March 29, 2008
FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU athletics director Danny Morrison has announced the hiring of Jim Christian as head men's basketball coach.
Christian comes to TCU after serving the last six years as head coach at Kent State, where he won at least 20 games each season and compiled a record of 138-58 (.704) for the highest winning percentage in Mid-American Conference history. Christian led the Golden Flashes to five postseason appearances, including NCAA Tournament trips in 2006 and 2008.
Kent State was 28-7 this season as it earned the first top-25 ranking in school history, peaking at No. 23 by the Associated Press and 24th in the ESPN/USA Today poll. Christian was named the MAC Coach of the Year for the second time in the last three seasons.
The 2007-08 campaign saw the Golden Flashes make their second NCAA Tournament appearance in three years. Kent State's No. 9 seed this season was its highest seed in the school's NCAA Tournament history.
"I am very appreciative of Chancellor Boschini and Dr. Morrison for this wonderful opportunity," Christian said. "TCU's tremendous commitment to having a successful basketball program and its first-class facilities are what made this position so attractive to me.
"There's a lot of momentum at TCU, and I'm extremely excited to be a part of it. Fort Worth, fertile recruiting in the Metroplex and Texas, and the competitiveness of the Mountain West Conference are part of many positive aspects of this job. I feel extremely fortunate to be a Horned Frog and can't wait to get started."
Christian's teams have excelled in conference play. The Golden Flashes were 79-28 (.738) in the MAC over his six seasons as head coach, including a 40-10 (.800) mark the last three campaigns. Kent State was also 71-14 (.835) under Christian at home with a 16-0 record this year.
In just six seasons, Christian climbed to second place on Kent State's career victories list (138). During his tenure, the Golden Flashes posted 14 winning streaks of at least five games.
Kent State is one of only six schools in the nation to currently have 10 straight 20-win seasons. The others are Duke, Kansas, Florida, Gonzaga and Creighton.
"Jim Christian is a proven head coach and a perfect fit for TCU," Morrison said. "He was targeted early in the process, and we couldn't be happier to have him as our head men's basketball coach.
"The search process confirmed how coaches view this as an attractive position. They see the commitment we have for all sports and the opportunity for success in men's basketball.
"We have a slam dunk with Jim Christian joining the TCU family."
Prior to his six seasons as head coach at Kent State, Christian served as an assistant coach for one year with the Golden Flashes. That 2001-02 team fell one game short of the Final Four as it posted NCAA Tournament victories over ranked opponents in Oklahoma State, Alabama and Pittsburgh.
Christian was named the Golden Flashes' head coach after the Elite Eight run. Kent State was the first MAC team since 1964 to advance that far in the NCAA Tournament.
In his first season (2002-03) as head coach, Christian inherited a team that lost four starters to graduation. Still, he managed to lead the Golden Flashes to a 22-9 record in being named National Rookie Coach of the Year by Basketball Times. It was the first of three straight NIT appearances.
Christian received NABC District 10 Coach of the Year honors the following season as Kent State again posted a 22-9 mark.
The 2005-06 campaign saw Kent State win the MAC regular season and tournament championships. The Golden Flashes finished 22-8 overall and 15-3 in league play in earning a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Developing players is a staple of Christian as a coach. Headlining that group is DeAndre Haynes, the first player in Kent State history to be named MAC Player of the Year (2006).
Christian also coached 2003 MAC Player of the Year runner-up and honorable-mention All-American Antonio Gates, now an All-Pro tight end for the San Diego Chargers. Other Golden Flashes under Christian to receive individual league awards were John Edwards as the 2004 MAC Defensive Player of the Year, and Kevin Warzynski as the 2006 MAC Sixth Man of the Year.
Prior to arriving at Kent State in 2001, Christian worked two years (1999-2001) with Octagon Sports Marketing and Management, where he served as a college basketball talent evaluator. He conducted individual workouts for 20 NBA players under management, including Chris Mihm, Jacque Vaughn and Brendan Haywood.
Previously, Christian served as an assistant at Pittsburgh (1996-99), Miami, Ohio (1995-96), Western Kentucky (1994-95, 1990-92) and Saint Francis, Pa. (1992-94). He was the recruiting coordinator at Pittsburgh and Miami.
Christian served as an assistant coach under Stan Heath (Kent State, 2001-02), Ralph Willard (Pittsburgh, 1996-99; Western Kentucky, 1990-92), Herb Sendek (Miami, Ohio, 1995-96), Matt Kilcullen (Western Kentucky, 1994-95) and Tom McConnell (Saint Francis, 1992-94).
While in his second stint at Western Kentucky, in 1994-95, Christian was part of a Hilltoppers' squad that won the Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament titles as well as defeating Michigan in an opening-round NCAA Tournament game. Current WKU head coach Darrin Horn was on that team as well as honorable-mention All-American Chris Robinson.
Christian is a 1988 graduate of Rhode Island with a Bachelor's degree in consumer affairs. He played under head coach Tom Penders and helped lead the Rams to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in 1988.
Christian and his wife, Patty, have a daughter, MacKenzie, and a son, Zachary.
Jim Christian Year-by-Year at Kent State