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04/04/2012

Christian's exit from TCU is a reminder the school has to find the right fit for basketball

Fid5800

Tuesday was a bummer sports day for The Big Mac Blog.
One of my favorite sports people in this town, Jim Christian, left. 

I am totally biased for Jim. He is a great guy. He is as self-aware as any coach I have ever been around. It's too bad this town never got to really know him; if it had, it would have seen a wonderful guy with a funny personality, and the rare high-major coach with some principles. For reasons other than principles, Jim just wasn't the right fit for TCU.

He probably knew it, too.

For all of the right hires TCU has made in its athletic department over the last decade or so the one that remains most troubling is men's basketball.

Former TCU AD Eric Hyman really whiffed on Neil Dougherty, God rest his soul.
Former TCU AD Danny Morrison didn't necessarily whiff on Jim Christian, but it was not a hit.

Which is why Christian was formerly introduced as the new head coach at Ohio on Tuesday afternoon. He should do very well there. Christian knew the way this job at TCU was setup he was very likely going to be fired. 

Morrison's original decision to hire Christian wasn't a bad move, but it wasn't the right one. The timing was off. The school wasn't ready to commit to men's basketball.

Christian's decision to leave is the right one, both for himself and the school. He goes to a place where he can win a lot, make a lot of money, and have some security for his family. The administration didn't believe in him, and the school has to find a person it feels worthy of the enormous financial investment that (should) be coming to this program.

The administration has to find the guy that not only "gets" the Big 12, but TCU. Christian never really did. Christian wants to coach, recruit, and go home. He can do those things very well, but this job requires a higher degree of political back-slapping and salesmanship that not necessarily every other job in America needs. Billy Tubbs understood that part of the job, and he was quite charming when necessary.

TCU is ready to be competitive in the Big 12 when it makes the switch in most sports but men's basketball. This is a Big 12 job in name only. With the necessary improvements TCU can be a very good job, but right now it's a trap door to getting fired.

As much as TCU needs to upgrade certain elements around its basketball program, finding the right personality fit for the job is equally paramount. Whomever TCU hires needs to understand, and embrace, the sales part that comes with this particular position.  

Either way, Jim leaves this program is better shape than when he arrived. It's just too bad you very likely never got to know him.

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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Comments

Txfrog87

Mac, I hate reading your column and hate agreeing with you ... but you're right. Good column.

"The" OSU

Add seating closer to the court at Daniel-Meyer, a la Vandy, ring the court with student seating, put a competitive team on the floor and that place can be a real snake-pit for visiting teams in the B12. I remember the teams Dixon was on in the 80's, and it was a tough game for visitors- and that was at a time when SWC basketball was probably the best in the country, top to bottom.

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