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I’ve Defended Jim Christian - Firing Him Now Was the Right Choice

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

I like Christian, he’s well regarded, seems like he knows what he’s doing, and he’s won a lot of the places he’s gone; he just hasn’t won at BC. I don’t think all of that is his fault, but something was up with this team this year. The inconsistency, the way the team just seemed to lose heart when things didn’t go their way, all suggest that something wasn’t working off the court. Whether Christian couldn’t coach the team up or the players didn’t buy in, either way Christian couldn’t fix the problem, and it’s his job to do that. That being said, it’d be easier to say Christian should go if I didn’t think there is a larger problem at play here.”

I wrote these words at the end of last season. I was not quite ready to blame Coach Jim Christian for all the Eagles’ struggles. I felt there were other problems with the program that needed to be addressed. Last season, I believed that injuries and the constant shuffling of the line-up were just as much to blame for BC’s lack of success as Christian was. The wins over North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, and UVA were evidence that the team had a higher ceiling for success. However, that was last season.

Despite the dark cloud of Covid, I came into this season optimistic, thinking that this year’s roster was deeper and more talented than last season’s. Yet here we are on February 15th, 2021 and the team is 3 -13. Clearly, Covid impeded their performance; the Eagles did have five games postponed and lost a lot of practice time which contributed to the recent three game losing streak. But I believe the decision to fire Christian is based not on this recent 3 game skid, but on the 3-10 start to the season before Covid began to take its toll.

Early on, it seemed the same storyline was repeated over and over; leads blown, usually due turnovers. Injuries couldn’t really be blamed for these losses. The talent was there as the team was competitive against strong opponents, but they struggled to finish out games. Last season, I felt that blaming Christian for the team’s lack of success was the easy answer but far from the only one. This year, the excuses finally began to run out for Jim Christian.

Obviously Covid-19 impacted both the pre-season and regular season. Yet Covid, restrictions have interfered with the schedule of all college teams. Consider that yet again, turnovers have been a deciding factor in BC’s losses. The Eagles averaged 13.7 turnovers per game in 2019-20 and are averaging 13.6 per game (the 5th most in the ACC) this season. Similarly, inconsistency was a problem that I harped on a lot last season and the story is the same this year.

As I said in the end of the year round-table, it is a coach’s job to fix problems and Jim Christian just was not getting it done. I still want to say Christian is a good coach and that he can develop BC into a competitive BC program, but as this season has gone on it has become harder and harder for me to defend that position.

I still believe BC has some deeper issues to address when it comes to the men’s basketball program, but I do agree that given the team’s performance this season a change did finally need to made. I wish Coach Christian all the best going forward and hope he finds success in the future.