Christian made the right decision

Doug Gulasy

Many people are wondering at this point whether Jim Christian made the right move in leaving Kent State for TCU.

I believe he did.

Even if you take out of the equation the fact that Christian raised his salary significantly with the move, there are other areas that make TCU a better job than Kent State.

First of all, the Horned Frogs (which is a much more intimidating nickname than Golden Flashes, by the way) play in a much better conference. The Mountain West Conference has received multiple NCAA Tournament bids for seven consecutive seasons. Eleven MWC teams have received at-large bids in the past nine years.

On the other side of the coin, the Mid-American Conference hasn’t received multiple bids since 1999.

That trend is likely to continue. Last season’s Flashes supposedly had the best chance of any MAC team in recent history to get an at-large bid, and they disappointed in the NCAA Tournament, losing 71-58 to UNLV.

At Kent State, Christian’s teams had to put all of their effort into winning the MAC, which often led to letdowns in postseason play. His TCU teams won’t have the same problem.

People will point to TCU’s recent woes as a reason that Christian made a bad decision. True, the Horned Frogs went 14-16 last season, but I think Christian has the ability to turn that around quickly.

He has proven adept in past years at recruiting junior college players. If he can get some good players of that type at TCU, the Horned Frogs could find themselves in the hunt for postseason play.

Finally, it’s hard to turn down a university that has made the commitment to its basketball program that TCU has. The true jewel is the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Basketball Complex, which includes a practice floor for the Horned Frogs.

Kent State doesn’t have that. When the wrestling team was hosting the MAC Championships at the M.A.C. Center earlier this month, the Flashes had to move their practice to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center. That’s not quite the same as a private facility.

Director of Athletics Laing Kennedy has shown a willingness to improve facilities in the past.

But who can fault Christian for going to a university that already has nice facilities instead of waiting years to get them at Kent State? I know I can’t.

I know a lot of people are unhappy with Christian leaving; he’s a good coach and had a lot of success as the Flashes’ head man.

While I would have liked to see him stay, I can’t fault him for leaving. It’s tough to turn down a better opportunity.

Contact sports reporter Doug Gulasy at [email protected].