Boston College Director of Athletics Brad Bates has confirmed the hiring of Jim Christian, formerly of Ohio University, as BC’s new men’s basketball coach.
The announcement came just over two weeks after the firing of former head coach Steve Donahue who, in his four years at the helm of BC basketball, had three losing seasons and compiled a total record of 54-76.
“Jim Christian brings three remarkable traits to Boston College basketball,” Bates said. “First, he sincerely cares about his student-athletes and will be a catalyst for their development as basketball players, scholars, servers and leaders, while creating a family culture that brings pride to the BC community. Second, his energy is contagious and his passion inspiring, which will resonate throughout our program. Finally, he is a proven winner with an outstanding winning percentage and three conference championships. We are very excited to have Jim Christian leading Boston College basketball, and look forward to an extraordinary future.”
Christian had been the head coach at Ohio University for just two seasons, before which he led the Kent State University program from 2002-2008 and Texas Christian University from 2008-2012. At Kent State, Christian led the Golden Flashes to four MAC East division titles as well as two overall conference titles and two conference tournament championships.
The experience of inheriting a struggling program will not be entirely new to Christian. For the two years before he was hired at TCU, the Horned Frogs had been hovering just below .500. It took three years, but Christian, in his final season there, finally led TCU to a winning record, breaking a seven year post-season drought with an appearance in the College Basketball Invitational Tournament. During his tenure at TCU, the Horned Frogs went a combined 56-73.
The transition to Ohio University was vastly different, as the season before Christian was hired the Bobcats had completed a Sweet Sixteen run. Since then, the Bobcats have not returned to the NCAA Tournament, but have posted winning records of 24-10 for the 2012-2013 season and 25-12 in the 2013-2014 season.
According to Chris Moore, a writer for the ACC Sports Journal, Christian has signed just three high school recruits of a two-star rating or higher over the course of his 12 year career in various head coaching positions. This stands in sharp contrast to Bates’ first hire, Steve Addazio, after the 2012 football season. Addazio’s reputation for recruiting was one of the main reasons cited for his hiring.
Christian has experience in identifying talent, though, as between coaching jobs at Pittsburgh and Kent State, he worked for two years at Octagon Sports Management in McLean, Virginia, as a college basketball talent evaluator.
Christian’s college playing career began at Boston University, from which he transferred after two seasons to attend the University of Rhode Island. As a guard, he helped the Rams to the Sweet Sixteen of the 1988 NCAA Tournament, before the team fell to Duke.