Director of Athletics Brad Bates introduced Jim Christian, formerly of Ohio University and Texas Christian University, as Boston College’s new men’s basketball coach on Tuesday, completing a three-week process to find a replacement after Steve Donahue’s firing. Bates cited Christian’s passion for BC, ability to articulate a vision for the program, track record for winning championships, and fit with the institution as the four key elements which contributed to his hiring.
Christian impressed during his introductory press conference. He showed a knowledge of the University, its basketball program, his current players, and what will be required to turn things around after a dreadful 8-24 record in the 2013-14 season. The press conference came after a morning filled with individual meetings with players and introductions to the BC faculty and staff. Afterward, Christian was seen buying dinner for students at Corcoran Commons.
As Bates referenced, Christian spoke clearly about his vision for the program in a way that should give some optimism to the BC fanbase, especially after the widespread sentiment upon the announcement of Christian’s hiring that the athletic department had brought in a coach with an underwhelming career resume. With essentially all of Christian’s success coming in the MAC conference, one with talent inferior to that of the ACC, that opinion is understandable, but Christian showed an understanding of what will be required to bring the Eagles back to the postseason and bring fans back to Conte Forum. It’s imperative, coming off of three sub-par basketball seasons, that Christian’s plan turns into an executed reality, because the program can ill afford yet another rebuild if this one is unsuccessful.
Asked two separate times about the terms of Christian’s contract, the athletic department-Associate Athletics Director Chris Cameron last Thursday and Bates on Tuesday-said they were undisclosed, citing BC’s status as a private institution, which allows the department to keep that information confidential. It’s both a disconcerting and unfortunate move. On the day that Steve Addazio’s hiring was announced in the fall of 2012, Bates willingly shared that the new head football coach had been signed to a six-year contract, while choosing not to disclose his salary.
BC has every right to keep the terms of Christian’s contract private, but the discrepancy here is noteworthy. The BC fanbase was largely underwhelmed by the initial announcement of Addazio’s hiring as well, but Bates showed his support in the new head coach by openly displaying his commitment to Addazio. Either a short contract is being hidden to quell the notion that Christian is on a short leash, or the athletic department, for some reason, does not want it released that Christian is signed through an extended period. Either way, the decision kicks off the new era of BC basketball with, at the very least, a discouraging sign.