Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel - he of "Steve Donahue Will Return" fame - tweeted Monday that Ohio University head men's basketball coach Jim Christian is a candidate to fill Boston College's vacancy:
A new name has emerged as a contender in the BC mix, Ohio Coach Jim Christian. Sources say he's a legit candidate.— Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) March 31, 2014
My hope is that the aforementioned sources are playing a cruel prank (sorry, Pete) and that this report goes the same way as Thamel's Donahue piece. (I love how Thamel even threw "Sources say he's a legit candidate" in there. It's like he's anticipating people reading his tweet as an early April Fool's joke: *Shrugs / laughs* ... No, seriously! I don't get it either, but I'm just the messenger, you guys.)
Anyway, Christian's resume speaks for itself, in that it says very little of relevance for BC. According to his official bio, Christian is the all-time winningest coach in #MACtion history (which probably says more about the MAC than Christian's ability to coach). Other listed accomplishments include:
- Two-time MAC Coach of the Year - both while head coach at Kent State (2006 & 2008)
- Two (one-and-done) NCAA Tournament appearances - both while head coach at Kent State (2006 & 2008)
- Two MAC Tournament titles - both while head coach at Kent State (2006 & 2008)
- Third head coach in TCU program history to win his first game as head coach
- Christian spent time as an assistant at Miami (1995-96) and Pitt (1996-99). That's the extent of his power conference experience.
- Recruited by Rick Pitino to play at BU, but Pitino left to coach the Knicks before Christian arrived on campus. I don't think this qualifies him as a branch of the Pitino tree, which his bio seems to imply. Christian later transferred and concluded his college career at URI.
- Not a proponent of social media. Hopefully he'll update his twitter profile to accurately reflect his current position if he's hired by BC:
Jim Christian still hasn’t updated his Twitter to reflect his current position. https://t.co/cN9YDksHsA— Hustle Belt (@HustleBelt) April 1, 2014
In summary: Fine W-L record as a head coach (236-152, .607), compiled in a marginal conference. No substantial major conference experience. No recruiting credentials or coaching pedigree to speak of. No legitimate connection to BC. You get the idea.
Perhaps the saddest part of Christian's emerging as a candidate is that we now can argue where the floor sits for BC's potential hire. Is it with him, or with Mark Schmidt? Schmidt coaches in the A10, but Christian has won 20+ games eight times. Schmidt has...oh, why bother?
Jim Christian should not be hired by BC; that's obvious. What's more puzzling is why, if Thamel's report is true, Brad Bates would actually spend time considering Chrisitian at all, let alone seriously? At least the time spent with Schmidt can be justified because Schmidt's an alumnus.
As the coaching search enters its third week, this development goes beyond "due diligence" and indicates that Bates has cast too wide a net. Interviewing Christian has no upside; it only adds to the confusion of a search that, as it drags on, is something of an embarrassment given how little Bates has done to control the narrative. The Boston Globe spins Amaker's staying at Harvard as a rejection of BC, Blauds is beginning to float "lingering resentment of Skinner" drivel in addition to the crap he's already put out, and now this. BC will seriously consider Jim Christian, but not Jim Calhoun?
All this goes away if Bates inks Mike Hopkins or better. In the meantime, we're left to raise our eyebrows or shake our heads and wonder: What the heck is going on?
Head Men's Basketball Coach at Boston College is not the apex of college basketball jobs, but it's better than Mark Schmidt, and it's better than Jim Christian.