Christian sparks Utah’s interest

Jonas Fortune

Utah has been granted permission by Laing Kennedy, Kent State director of athletics, to talk to Kent State men’s basketball coach Jim Christian about its open coaching position, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Former Utah coach Ray Giacoletti, who was in his third year of a 7-year, $500,000 deal, resigned after an 11-19 season. He was 54-38 in three seasons at the helm of the Utes and had a Sweet 16 appearance in his first season.

Christian, who guided the Flashes to a 21-11 record this season with a roster full of underclassmen, is the second winningest coach in Kent State history. In five seasons, Christian has gone 110-51, winning at least 20 games in each season.

He was awarded with a new 7-year contract last year worth $250,000 a year, making him the highest paid coach in the Mid-American Conference.

According to Micheal C. Lewis of the Salt Lake Tribune, Utah could pay a new coach $700,000 to $800,000 a year, which would triple Christian’s current salary.

At the end of last season, rumors connected Christian to the open Nebraska position.

Contacts assistant sports editor Jonas Fortune at [email protected].