Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Jim Christian's job status

When Arkansas-Little Rock and UNC-Asheville tip off tonight in Dayton, it will mark the 13th consecutive year that the NCAA Tournament has carried on without TCU. Despite this long absence and the depths to which the program has fallen, Chris Del Conte has given Coach Jim Christian his vote of confidence to continue leading the Frogs.

No doubt that decision will be second-guessed by a large number of Horned Frog faithful. After all, Christian has a record of 38-58 in his three seasons here and the fans have been staying away from Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in droves. When you realize that this team that finished 1-15 this year in Mountain West play will be moving to the Big East in two years, you have to wonder if Jimmy C is the right man for the job.

On the other hand, patience may be something that Christian deserves when you take into account how empty the cupboard was after Neil Dougherty's program-destroying reign finally ended. After it looked like the Frogs might finally be turning a corner this year (remember them beating tournament-bound USC with ease on November 29?), Christian kicked two of the most talented players (Sammy Yeager and Andre Clark) off the team and indefinitely suspended his best player (Tuffy Moss)- essentially killing any shot at the postseason.

I know that we, as fans, all want W's. But doesn't it say something about Jim Christian's character that- in a season where he really needed to turn things around- he didn't compromise his sense of right and wrong just for the sake of his employment? Del Conte obviously thinks so, with this quote in Mac Engel's Saturday article: "Say whatever you want, but that's a guy who did not sell out for just a couple of more wins, and you have to respect that." You've also got to respect the effort that the short-handed Frogs put forth in the conference tournament, beating Wyoming and nearly BYU after a 13-game losing streak that would've made most teams close up shop.

Then again, how much does the fact that Christian's contract runs through the 2014-2015 season weigh on Del Conte's decision? With tickets "selling like the opposite of hotcakes", to use a Galifianakis-ism, and the Mountain West's paltry TV revenue- does Del Conte really want to be paying two basketball coaches for the next couple of seasons? You'll never hear the athletic department admit this, but you have to know that's why Morrison kept Dougherty around as long as he did.

By all accounts, Jim Christian is a terrific guy, and I'd love to see Del Conte's patience pay off in the end. One of the most legendary coaches in the history of college basketball, Mike Krzyzewski, was allowed to coach himself through some pretty bad struggles in his first few seasons at Duke and who doesn't remember the calls for Gary Patterson to be fired after the 5-6 finish in 2004?

Comparing Christian to GP and Coack K might be unfair, and honestly I don't know if he can turn this thing around- but it's the AD's decision so all we can do now is hope that it's the right one. Or bitch about it, because Lord knows TCU fans aren't shy about doing that. Where do you stand on this- should Christian be axed, or do you agree with Del Conte's patience?


Spit Purple said...

I agree with Del Conte's decision. The class with which he has run the program is great, it takes some balls to kick your best players off the team and I applaud him for that.

The contract running through '14-'15 is also hard to discount. As bad as the program is and has been, we have no business paying two coaches. Plus, this gives Christian a few years to see if the Big East can help him turn things around. If he can't we'll be in the best basketball conference in the country and have a better shot at picking up a big name coach.

Personally, I hope Christian rights the ship. He wants to build a program the right way, which I think is important.

VikingFrog said...

Unless they get some big name that can instantly pull in recruits, this team is going to be thrown into the fire when we hit the Big East. If we changed coaches now I don't think the results would change very much from this year to the next. Transitioning, while transitioning is never a good thing unless it involves sexual acts.

I think the Big East will be good for TCU basketball in the long run, but it's going to be a longer process than most foresee.

THEFINCH said...

i'd rather have a bad record with a clean, honest program under Jim Christian than a winning record with a slimy piece of shit like Scott Drew

John Lamberth said...

I'm completely behind CDC and JC for now. We have one season left in the Mountain Whiner Conference and I see no point in getting rid of what little stability we have going into the toughest b-ball conference in the land.
And yeah, while I give JC a vote of confidence, I'm not sure that he's ultimately our guy for the long term. But since I don't think this season was done in by coaching so much as players not up to our standards, I think JC has the ability to take the program forward. Yeah, we're gonna get stomped going into the BEast, but just being in such a high profile conference should help with recruiting (cuz in this state, let's face it, if you aren't starting at UT, the country really doesn't much care about any non-Kansas Big XII basketball).
Besides, as much as I like Horned Frog wins, regardless of the sport, I would rather have a school that doesn't put up with criminals and does its absolute best to put its academic integrity above its athletics.

BuckNasty said...

I don't put much blame on Christian for our shitty Bball program. Alot of it falls on the school too. We need to update DMC and upgrade the facilities to help recruiting. No recruits are going to want to choose TCU right now with our bball facilities the way they are and the fact we are in the MWC. Give him a year to recruit once we have joined the Big East and then see.

Sir Wesley Willis said...

Towards the end of the regular season I argued that JC had lost the team and that we lacked a true leader to aid in the process of righting the ship... but I think after watching the season wind down and the conference tourney, it's clear that the guys are buying into his message and that Thorns can definitely be that leader in the short term.

As far as success, if Moss is allowed to come back next year and has cleared up whatever attitudinal issues he had that got him kicked off the team in the first place, we could be very dangerous. If he doesn't then JC better bring in someone with his play making and scoring ability, or develop Garlon Green, or things won't be much better than they were this year.

I had completely forgotten about losing Andre Clark, but that's definitely a caveat we've overlooked all year because he was a big body and that's what this team needed as much as anything.

In a perfect world, Amric Fields will improve his game, Thorns will get everyone on the same page, Garlon Green will be more than just a jump shooter and we'll bring in at least one big guy to clog up the middle and this time next year we'll be talking about how the turnaround was a year late, but welcome nonetheless. If things don't improve, then not even improved facilities and the Big East clout will be able to save us.

Sir Wesley Willis said...

Also, I respect you guys' outlook on running a clean program, but F that - if we could be a legit title contender (read: not baylor) year in and year out, grease those high schoolers palms all you want.