During his press conference, new Boston College basketball head coach, Jim Christian, was fired up and almost said the word “hell.” He caught himself and said “heck." “Excuse me…Catholic school,” said Christian as the audience laughed.
The new head coach of Boston College basketball is a tall guy. As I found my head looking up and attempting to hold my neck in place to keep eye contact, his voice echoed of passion. His body language was strong. Those were some of the things I picked up on while speaking briefly with Christian, who was introduced as the new head coach on Tuesday. He was passionate, driven, educated, and most importantly, he cares about his players and about winning. But just like many BC students, I wanted to know who Christian was. So since we are in a Catholic school, I ask, who the heck is this guy?
Well, from Tuesday’s press conference, Brad Bates drove home that Christian is a winner. “There were four things that separated Christian from the rest of the field,” said Bates on the reasons for hiring Christian. “1. He wants to be at BC. 2. He has an articulated vision. 3. A track record of championships. 4. He fits the BC culture.” Bates reiterated the track record of championships later on in the press conference by bringing up the fact that unlike the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Christian coached in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). “If you don’t win in that conference, you don’t make it to the dance,” said Bates.
It’s true. Western Michigan won this year’s MAC tournament and went to the NCAA tournament as the only MAC team. In the ACC, six teams made it to the dance. And as Christian has proven, he indeed can win. Since he began his head-coaching career in 2002, Christian has a winning percentage of .607 (236-152). He made the NCAA tournament twice with Kent State in 2006 and 2008 after winning their conference title and made the NIT three times with Kent State and once in his first year at Ohio University in 2013. In the past two years, Christian had a winning percentage of .700, 49-21 overall at Ohio. Not convinced yet? Look at this table.
|Jim Christian||Steve Donahue|
|2002-2003 Kent State (21-10)||2002-2003 Cornell (9-18)|
|2003-2004 Kent State (22-9)||2003-2004 Cornell (11-16)|
|2004-2005 Kent State (20-13)||2004-2005 Cornell (13-14)|
|2005-2006 Kent State (25-9)||2005-2006 Cornell (13-15)|
|2006-2007 Kent State (21-11)||2006-2007 Cornell (16-12)|
|2007-2008 Kent State (28-7)||2007-2008 Cornell (22-6)|
|2008-2009 TCU (14-17)||2008-2009 Cornell (21-10)|
|2009-2010 TCU (13-19)||2009-2010 Cornell (29-5)|
|2010-2011 TCU (11-22)||2010-2011 Boston College (21-13)|
|2011-2012 TCU (18-15)||2011-2012 Boston College (9-22)|
|2012-2013 Ohio (24-10)||2012-2013 Boston College (16-17)|
|2013-2014 Ohio (25-11)||2013-2014 Boston College (8-24)|
Compared to our previous head coach, Christian can win and we like winning because winning is fun. Just ask Jerry York and our hockey team or Steve Addazio and our Heisman-finalist, Andre Williams. BC basketball needs to go back to its' winning days and Christian is a great person to lead that journey.
But aside from an impressive track record of mid-major prominence, Christian does truly care about his players and BC. In his press conference, Christian stated he told the players two things he’s looking for and that’s identity and development. After getting off the plane on Monday, Christian met with the team to tell them exactly this. Before the press conference, Christian was in one-on-one meetings with the team to get an idea of how they were doing and remind them the future he sees for BC basketball. “For every practice, we’ll have an identity board with 20 plays,” said Christian giving a sneak peek to how he will operate practice. “If Lonnie Jackson dives for a ball and that’s on the board we take it off the board…to show praise to the players for their efforts. It’s all about creating a culture.”
His style certainly works wherever he was head coach. Last season, Ohio University was 149th in points per game, 45th in assists per game, and 94th in field goal percentage. BC was 240th in point per game, 195th in assists per game, and 154th in field goal percentage. And defense was no different. Ohio was 94th in points allowed and 68th in rebounds per game. BC was 268th in points allowed and 326th in rebounds per game. Sure, you can make the argument the competition BC faced was different, but the fact of the matter is Ohio ranked higher in these categories than BC.
Christian also looks to make an effort to be involved within the BC community and he is aware that winning in basketball will make the students involved in campus, but he doesn’t just want to be the head coach of BC basketball. He made that apparent when he picked up the tab for some lucky BC students at Lower.
So when asked who the heck is Jim Christian? Respond like this: He’s the new head coach of BC basketball. He has a proven track record of winning. If you have a conversation with him, he is a passionate and articulate individual with a very open mind. He is a family man as he referenced his wife and children a lot during his press conference. And lastly, he is the man who will bring BC basketball back to prominenance. He is working to get recruits from the New England area (hopefully the next Shabazz Napier) but also working to make sure the staff he gets is well-rounded in ACC and national recruitable talent. To compare him to another coach BC is familiar with, he is the Addazio of basketball and that is a good thing for BC basketball.
Hey, we gave Addazio a chance and look what he did. Don’t write off Christian or else you’ll be saying “What the hell was I thinking?” But remember, say heck, cause we go to a Catholic school, right Jim?
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