Christian named Head Basketball Coach at Canisius

Canisius Vice President and Director of Athletics and Recreation Bill Maher announced today (Monday, April 8) that Jim Christian has been named the 25th head coach in Canisius men’s basketball history. With nearly two decades of NCAA Division I head coaching experience to his credit, Christian takes over the Golden Griffin program after spending the previous two seasons as an assistant coach and in an administrative role at Kent State University.

“Jim Christian comes to Canisius with a proven track record of 19 years of head coaching experience, a solid reputation as a leader who develops young men into successful teams and a commitment to being an engaging campus partner who understands and appreciates the Jesuit mission of Canisius University,” Maher said. “We are thrilled to welcome Jim, and his family, to Canisius and the city of Buffalo. I look forward to working with him as we build this program, focused on our goal of competing for MAAC Championships.”

“It is an honor and a privilege for me to be named the next head men’s basketball coach at Canisius University,” Christian said. “I would like to thank President Steve Stoute and Athletic Director Bill Maher for this tremendous opportunity. I am confident that I will be able to use the things I have learned in my 19 years as a head coach and put those into practice at Canisius on day one. Canisius is a special place. The close, family atmosphere I experienced on my visit there last week just further proved to me that Canisius is the right place for me, both personally and professionally. I am ready to get to Buffalo and I am ready to get to work.”   

In his most recent stop at Kent State, Christian was part of the Golden Flashes staff that led the team to 45 victories and a pair of Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship game appearances. In 2022-23, Kent State won 28 games and secured the conference’s automatic berth into the 2023 NCAA Tournament, where it eventually fell to Indiana.

Before joining the men’s basketball staff at Kent State, Christian served as the head coach at Boston College from 2014-21. His best season at Boston College came in 2017-18, where he guided the Eagles to a 19-win season – the most victories by a BC men’s basketball team since the 2010-11 season – which resulted in a return to the postseason. The Eagles’ 2017-18 season was highlighted by a win over top-ranked Duke, a trip to the quarterfinals of the 2018 ACC Championship, and a bid to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).

Christian took over the Boston College program after serving as the head coach at Ohio University, where he led the Bobcats to a 49-22 record in two seasons. In his first year in Athens, Ohio, the Bobcats went 24-10 and earned a berth in the NIT. In 2013-14, Ohio went 25-12 and advanced to the quarterfinals of the College Insider Tournament (CIT). His 2012-13 Ohio squad was the regular-season MAC champions (14-2) and he was named the NABC District 14 Coach of the Year for his efforts.

In 19 years as a Division I head coach, Christian has spent eight of those seasons leading programs in the MAC. He spent six years with Kent State from 2002-08, compiling a record of 138-58 (.704) and leading the Golden Flashes to five postseason appearances. He earned MAC Coach of the Year accolades in 2006 and 2008, both times directing Kent State to the conference title and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Golden Flashes earned NIT berths in each of his first three seasons. Christian holds the best winning percentage in MAC history (.700) and reached 20 wins in all eight of his seasons in the conference.

Christian also spent four seasons (2008-12) as the head coach at TCU. While there, he won 56 games, and in his final season, he directed the Horned Frogs to an 18-15 record and an appearance in the quarterfinal round of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI).

Christian served as an assistant coach for the Golden Flashes in 2001-02 when they advanced to the Elite Eight. Before his time at Kent State, he was a college basketball talent evaluator at Octagon Sports Marketing and Management. He was an assistant coach at Pittsburgh from 1996-99 under Ralph Willard, and has also made coaching stops at Miami (Ohio) (1995-96), Western Kentucky (1990-92, 1994-95) and St. Francis (Pa.) (1992-94).

A native of Bethpage, N.Y., he played two seasons at Boston University before transferring to Rhode Island to finish his collegiate playing career under Rams’ head coach Tom Penders. He was a key part of the team that advanced to the Sweet 16 in the 1988 NCAA Tournament.

Christian earned his bachelor’s degree in consumer affairs from the University of Rhode Island in 1988. He and his wife, Patty, have three children, MacKenzie, Zachary and Jay.

Canisius will introduce Christian as the Griffs’ newest head coach with an introductory press conference on Thursday, April 11. Further information on the press conference will be shared as it becomes available. The event will also streamed live online through the Golden Griffin Broadcast Network at

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