|Alma Mater:||Mount St. Mary's|
Head coach Jamion Christian has established Mount St. Mary’s University as one of the premier programs in the Northeast Conference since taking over as head coach on March 26, 2012. Branding his style of play as “Mount Mayhem”, Christian has led the Mountaineers to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances in his five years as head coach. He signed a contract extension through the 2026-27 season in early July.
Mount Mayhem, which features a pressing defense and an offense reliant on three-point shots, has been the building block for his team’s success. Under his direction, the Mountaineers have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and 2017, earned the Mount's first NCAA Tournament win since 2008, won Northeast Conference (NEC) Championships in 2014 and 2017, while also having the honor of being the only NEC team with a winning regular season record for five straight years. In March, Christian was named 2016-17 Jim Phelan NEC Coach of the Year after leading the Mountaineers to both the NEC regular season and tournament titles. It was the first time since 1995-96 that the Mount has captured NEC regular season honors.
"I love the Mount. I love what we are becoming as a university. I love what we are becoming as a basketball program. We've had some success here over the past five seasons, and to take the next step we all needed to define our commitment," Christian said. "I want to be here for a long time because I believe that we can be as elite a program as there is in this country. I believe with our university support, our fan support, and with the rich recruiting base we live within, that our future is limitless."
"Since Jamion's return to the Mount five years ago, the men's basketball program has flourished. In addition to leading the team to outstanding success on the court, Jamion has maintained a tireless commitment to the welfare and academic success of our student-athletes, as well as serving as a tremendous ambassador for Mount St. Mary's in the community and with our alumni," said Lynne Robinson, Mount St. Mary’s Director of Athletics. "This extension demonstrates our shared commitment to continuing the basketball program's bright future. We look forward to many more years of 'Mount Mayhem' in Knott Arena!"
Off the court, Christian excels in mentoring his student-athletes, as he leads by example in the way he prepares as well as embraces the Mount community.
"Coach Christian has been an outstanding role model for our student-athletes at the Mount." said Mount St. Mary's University President Timothy Trainor, Ph.D. "He pours his heart and soul into developing our student-athletes to become ethical leaders ready to serve others in the future. The public sees his energy and enthusiasm when he's coaching during a game, but they don't see that he puts just as much, if not more effort into his responsibilities with his team, administrators, the media and the Mount community at large. We're certainly delighted about what he's been able to accomplish, but even more proud of how he's been able to positively impact our students and represent the university."
The Mountaineers had one of the best seasons in program history in 2016-17, winning the NEC regular season and postseason titles while finishing 20-16 overall and 14-4 in NEC play. After opening the year with a 1-11 record facing a daunting list of opponents including nationally ranked West Virginia, Iowa State and Michigan, the Mount went 19-5 over the final 24 games of the year. The Mount’s 14-4 league record was the school's second-best NEC mark since the Mount joined the conference in 1989-90. In addition, the regular season titles was the Mount’s first in 21 years, while the team hosted the NEC championship game for the first time in school history.
In the NEC Tournament, the Mount knocked off Sacred Heart and Robert Morris to advance to the NEC Championship game for the third time in five years under Christian. Hosting the NEC title before a raucous Knott Arena crowd, the Mount rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit to post a 71-61 victory over the Red Flash to earn the school’s fifth NCAA Division I Tournament appearance.
The Mountaineers then collected a 67-66 victory over New Orleans in the First Four, the Mount’s second NCAA Division I Tournament victory and first since 2008, to move on to face top-seeded Villanova. The Mount gave the defending champion Wildcats all they could handle, trailing by one point at the half before falling 76-56.
The Mount has qualified for the NEC Tournament in all five of Christian's seasons at the Mount, and the team is 9-3 in NEC Tournament games under his direction.
In 2014, Christian led the Mountaineers to an 88-71 victory over Robert Morris in the NEC championship game in 2014 to seal the Mount’s first bid to the NCAA Tournament since 2008. Christian’s team finished the regular season in fourth place, earning the school’s first NEC Tournament home game since 2010. The Mount staged a historic rally in that game, coming back from a 19-point deficit with just over nine minutes left to edge St. Francis Brooklyn, 72-71, in the NEC Quarterfinals. The Mount then downed second-seeded Wagner on the road in the semifinals to earn a spot in the championship game for the second consecutive season.
The Mountaineers faced Albany in the 2014 NCAA Tournament First Round in Dayton, Ohio. After falling behind 21-2 in the opening minutes, the Mountaineers roared back with a 21-2 run of its own to even the score. The Mountaineers, however, came up short in a 71-64 loss that saw a potential game-tying three-pointer in the final minute rattle in-and-out.
A 2004 graduate of the Mount, Christian was named the 22nd coach in Mount St. Mary’s history on March 26, 2012. In his inaugural season, Christian guided the Mountaineers to an 18-14 record and a spot in the NEC Championship game.
Christian’s first season definitely provided excitement as the 18 wins were the fourth-most by a Mount team since moving to NCAA Division I in 1988-89 while the team also had a nine-game win streak, the third-longest streak by a Mount team in the Division I era. It was the Mount’s first winning season since 2009-10 and the Mountaineers appeared in the NEC Championship game for the first time since 2009.
One of the youngest coaches in NCAA Division I at 34 years old, Christian’s first recruit at the Mount, guard Shivaughn Wiggins, was named the NEC Rookie of the Year in 2012-13. Under Christian, the Mount has had eight players earn All-NEC honors and three more named to the All-Rookie team.
Christian has also garnered national attention, winning the Ben Jobe Award in 2017, presented annually to the top minority coach in Division 1 basketball by CollegeInsider.com. He was a finalist for the same award in 2013. After his inaugural season at the Mount, Christian was named a finalist for the Joe B. Hall Award in 2013, given by CollegeInsider.com to the top first-year coach in Division I college basketball.
Christian was an assistant coach at Virginia Commonwealth under Shaka Smart in 2011-12, helping guide the Rams to the Third Round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament. VCU won the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament title and finished with a school-record 29 wins this year. VCU led the NCAA in steals and steals per game. Christian worked hand-in-hand with VCU starting shooting guard Troy Daniels, who broke the school record for three-pointers made.
Prior to his time at VCU, he spent three years at William & Mary. In three seasons with the Tribe, he helped usher in a new era of basketball. The Tribe made their second postseason appearance in school history in 2010 and recorded the third most wins in school history with 22.
On the recruiting trail, he aided in the Tribe's 2010 recruiting class that was ranked among the best in "Mid-Major" classes in the country and the best in the CAA by ESPN.com and Scouts, Inc. During his time with William & Mary, Christian was responsible for recruiting in Virginia, Texas and the Washington, D.C. region.
One of the foundations for Christian's style of play came from his first collegiate job as an assistant coach at Emory & Henry. In 2005-06, Emory & Henry averaged 104.3 points and 17.6 three-point field goals made per game. Christian moved on to serve as the Director of Basketball Operations at Bucknell Univeristy the next two seasons.
As a player, Christian was a three-year captain at the Mount, scoring 581 points in 90 career games and 56 starts. He led the Mount in scoring at 11.3 points per game in 2001-02 and averaged 8.2 points the following season.
During his senior year at New Kent High School, Christian led his squad to an undefeated season and a VHSL State Championship.
The Christian File (83-81, 55-33 NEC)