Jim Christian is leaving TCU to take the head coaching job at Ohio University.
He will be announced as the new Bobcat coach during a 1 p.m. Tuesday press conference.
TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said in a release that a national search for a new coach will begin immediately.
“We appreciate Jim’s contributions to TCU and wish him the best,” Del Conte said. “A national search for a new head coach will begin immediately. With our entrance into the Big 12, the momentum on the TCU campus and the great city of Fort Worth, we are very excited about the future of our men's basketball program.”
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Christian, who just completed his fourth season at TCU, coached for six years at Kent State before taking the TCU job in March 2008. His wife is from Ohio and still has a lot of family in the state. Ohio is in the Mid-American Conference, the same league as Kent State, where Christian led his team to five postseason appearances, including two in the NCAA Tournament.
Christian was a candidate for the opening at his alma mater, Rhode Island, last month before Danny Hurley took the job. An additional source at TCU said Christian was a finalist for the Mississippi State job that was filled Sunday by Rick Ray.
When reports surfaced that Christian was a candidate for the Rhode Island job last month, TCU guard Kyan Anderson said Christian’s departure would “be a blow.”
Anderson said he and his teammates hoped to improve in the second half of the season after hearing rumors that Christian’s job was on the line. TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte denied Christian’s job was in jeopardy last week. Christian’s contract with TCU was good through 2015.
“We felt like we didn’t want it to happen,” Anderson said. “We kept it in the back of our heads. We didn’t want him to go or have a situation like that so around midseason we wanted to turn it up for that reason and give him the best chance.”
Christian was 56-73 in four seasons at TCU. He led the Horned Frogs to their first winning season and first postseason berth since 2005 last month. TCU lost in the second round of the College Basketball Invitational.
Christian replaces John Groce at Ohio, which reached the Sweet 16. Groce was hired at Illinois last week.
According to CBSSports.com, Christian will earn approximately the same salary as he did at TCU, which was about $590,000 annually.
Stefan Stevenson, (817) 390-7760