Jim Christian won a lot at Kent State, a little at TCU, and a lot at Ohio. He didn’t win at all at Boston College, which led to his dismissal as head coach after six and a half seasons as head coach.
Christian was fired on Monday, two days after the Eagles lost to Syracuse, their 13th loss this season (in 16 games) and 132nd loss (in 210 games) under Christian. The move, first reported by Yahoo’s Pete Thamel and officially announced by Boston College hours later, was called inevitable by college basketball insiders as Christian’s team limped through another season in which they have no chance at the NCAA Tournament and will miss the NIT for the sixth time in seven years.
“I know that Jim gave everything that he had into leading our program and mentoring our student-athletes,” athletics Patrick Kraft said in a statement. “Ultimately, the program is not headed in the right direction and though I hesitate to make a midseason coaching change in any sport, now is the right time for us to look forward. We wish Jim and his family all the best in their future endeavors and thank them for their service to Boston College.”
With Christian out who might Boston College hire?
It’ll be the first high-profile hire for Kraft, who replaced Martin Jarmond in July, but he made one basketball hire (Aaron McKie) and two football hires (Geoff Collins and Rod Carey) in five years as Temple athletics director. Prior to Temple, he was a senior AD at Loyola Chicago when Porter Moser was hired. While Kraft didn’t hire Moser (and hasn’t worked with him in seven years), and Moser has rejected better opportunities, the Ramblers’ 10th-year coach is worth considering.
Two alumni could make a short list: Michigan assistant Howard Eisley and St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt. Eisley led the Eagles to their most recent Elite Eight appearance in 1994 and has over a decade of coaching experience, though only two years in college basketball. A longtime NBA assistant, Eisley joined Juwan Howard’s staff two years ago and was the lead recruiter for Kobe Bufkin and Frankie Collins. Schmidt, meanwhile, is a Massachusetts native who played at BC in the 1980s and has more than 30 years of college coaching experience, including the last 14 in Allegany.
Ryan Odom, Bill Coen, John Becker, and Travis Ford are among an army of mid-major coaches with regional ties. Odom has rejected several interview and job offers since leading UMBC to the Second Round in 2018 but might be interested in a high-major opportunity. Ford, 51 did well at UMass in the mid-2000s and has rebuilt Saint Louis into an annual tourney contender.
The Earl Grant musings have cooled since winning 75 games at Charleston from 2016-19 but he has seven years of head-coaching experience and previous high-major experience. Winthrop’s Pat Kelsey has a similar résumé as do Cleveland State’s Dennis Gates and Colorado State’s Niko Medved.
John Beilein isn’t a long-term solution but he could hire a tremendous staff, including his hand-picked successor, and provide short-term stability for a tired program. Also … would Boston College roll the dice with Rick Pitino?
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Andrew Doughty is a writer for BetMGM and host of High Motor by BetMGM, an NFL and college football podcast available on Apple Podcasts and everywhere else. He has written for Sports Illustrated, HERO Sports, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter: @DoughtyBetMGM