Mount St. Mary’s announced a contract extension with men’s basketball coach Jamion Christian on Thursday that will last through the 2026-27 season.
Two years remained in Christian’s previous deal that paid the 35-year-old roughly $200,000 annually. Financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed.
Christian has led the Mount to the NCAA tournament twice in the past five years, including a trip this past season that saw the institution’s second NCAA tournament win in the First Four and a 35-minute tussle with the reigning national champions, Villanova.
“Since Jamion’s return to the Mount five years ago, the men’s basketball program has flourished,” director of athletics Lynne Robinson said in a statement released by the university. “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.
“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.”
Since returning to his alma mater in March 2012, Christian has guided the Mount to a pair of Northeast Conference tournament titles. He is 83-81 overall, including a 64-36 mark in the NEC regular season and tournament games.
The Mount is coming off one of its best men’s basketball seasons in the university’s history, going 20-16 and winning 19 of the last 24 games after stumbling to a 1-11 start amid a brutal non-conference schedule.
In April, Christian was named the Ben Jobe Award by CollegeInsider.com as the top minority coach in Division I men’s basketball.
“The passion I feel for our program I believe has been evident from the first day that I set foot on this campus,” Christian said in the statement. “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.
“I wanted to be committed 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. Being limitless was particularly important to me and having that same vision by those at the university level was extremely important. The ability to be limitless in our dreams and our wants, mixed with an extreme desire to work for that dream, is a dangerous combination. We have that here at the Mount.”
After losing three of its five starters to transfer, and five of its top nine players overall, Christian will inherit a freshmen-heavy roster with cornerstone seniors Junior Robinson and Chris Wray for 2017-18, looking to make a second straight NCAA tournament appearance.
“We’ve seen in five short years what can happen when we all work together,” Christian said. “We’ve seen what can be accomplished when a group of believers plays with an extreme passion for one another. With the workings of this commitment, we have something special.
“We have something that says we are going for it as a university and as an athletic department. Being committed to recruiting the best players in the area and being committed to loving the journey to tackle college basketball’s very best year in and year out.”