|Alma Mater:||Mount St. Mary's|
In just four seasons, head coach Jamion Christian has led Mount St. Mary’s back to the top of the Northeast Conference. After taking the Mount to the Northeast Conference title game in his first season, Christian guided the Mount to the NEC title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament in 2014. He has guided the Mountaineers to a winning record in NEC play in each of his four seasons, the first time that has happened since the Mount joined the NEC in 1989-90.
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.
Christian refers to his team’s style of play as Mayhem, which features a pressing defense and an offense reliant on the three-point shot. The top four single-season records for three-point attempts are all during Christian's tenure, while the team set school records for three-pointers made in each of his first two seasons.
One of the youngest coaches in NCAA Division I at 32 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 six players earn All-NEC honors and two more named to the All-Rookie team.
Christian was a finalist for both the Ben Jobe Award and the Joe B. Hall Award in 2013. The Ben Jobe Award is presented annually to the top minority coach in division I men's basketball, while the Joe B. Hall Award goes 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
Year Overall/NEC Notes
2012-13 18-14/11-7 Advanced to NEC Championship Game
2013-14 16-17/9-7 NCAA Tournament
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT JAMION CHRISTIAN
SHAKA SMART, VCU Head Coach
“I think he’s got a great perspective on the game, and it’s different, much different than anyone else on our staff because of his background and who he’s worked for. That’s always something you invite. You don’t want to bring someone in that has the exact same views as you and knows the same things as you because then they basically become a ‘yes’ man. Jamion’s brought up a bunch of interesting ideas that the rest of us haven’t thought of.”
TONY SHAVER, WILLIAM & MARY Head Coach
“Jamion’s work ethic and ability to relate to young people makes him a great recruiter. He displays maturity beyond his years and contributed in every facet to our program. Jamion has groomed himself by working and playing for a number of exceptional head coaches like Jim Phelan, Pat Flannery at Bucknell and Bob Johnson at Emory and Henry.”