Ohio coach Jim Christian is now considered a serious candidate to become Boston College’s next head basketball coach. He interviewed for the job this week, according to multiple reports. Here’s a quick breakdown of Christian’s coaching profile.
Experience: Christian has 12 years of relative irrelevancy as a college basketball coach. He coached Kent State for six years, going 137-59 with two NCAA Tournament appearances after winning the Mid-American Conference. He then spent four years at TCU, where he went 56-73. He’s been at Ohio the last two seasons, where he’s posted a 49-21 record and has missed the NCAA Tournament both years. He was an assistant coach from 1990-2002 at six different schools, including Miami (Ohio), Pittsburgh and Kent State. He comes from the Herb Sendek coaching tree from his time at Miami.
Pros: Well, he’s cheap. Christian only earns $425,000 annually at Ohio, so BC should be able to get him on board for less than $1 million. He’s been successful at his two mid-majors with nearly a .700 win percentage in those eight years. He led his team to five regular season conference championships at those two stops. Christian doesn’t have a grand reputation as a recruiter by any means, but he did pull four-star forward Tariq Owens to Ohio for the 2014 class. He stole Owens away from programs such as Miami (Florida), South Florida and Virginia Commonwealth, so he could have potential on the recruiting front. He also has roots in the Northeast. He grew up in Bethpage, N.Y., and played college ball at both Boston (under Rick Pitino) and Rhode Island. At Rhode Island, he was the starting guard who took the Rams to the Sweet 16 and came one point shy of beating Duke for a spot in the Elite Eight.
Cons: His four years at Texas Christian were forgettable. He went 56-73, with an 18-44 conference record in the Mountain West Conference, and his lone postseason appearance was the CBI in 2012. Besides that stint and save for three years as an assistant at Pitt, he has no experience at the high major level. He landed exactly one recruit who was rated higher than a two-star prospect in four classes at TCU. While athletic director Brad Bates said he wasn’t interested in a “splash” hire just for publicity’s sake, the hiring of Christian wouldn’t do anything to ignite the BC fanbase that is already waning. In fact, it could turn even more Eagles fans away from the program. You can’t truly judge how good of a hire it would be until he’s had a couple of seasons under his belt, but there’s a good chance Christian is actually a downgrade from Steve Donahue.
Where He Stands: Christian’s name wasn’t mentioned in relation to the BC job until recently, but several reports say he’s not only a legitimate target, but he just might be the frontrunner at this point. With the way Bates has prevented any leaks during this search, there’s no way to tell whether there are other candidates higher than him at the present time. We do know that prominent early targets such as Tommy Amaker and Mike Hopkins removed themselves from the process. Beneath them, there’s a whole world of candidates to fill this job, and Christian is just as likely as anyone else to be the guy.