Ceremonial first pitch will take place prior to Cleveland's series finale against Oakland on Thursday
The all-time winningest coach in Mid-American Conference history, Jim Christian became the 17th head coach in Ohio men's basketball history in April 2012.
A two-time Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year, Christian has led his teams at Ohio, TCU and Kent State to a combined seven post-season appearances in 11 seasons on the bench. During his career, Christian has mentored three All-Americans, three MAC Players of the Year and 28 all-conference selections.
In just his first season at the helm in Athens, Christian earned NABC District 14 Coach of the Year honors after leading the Bobcats to a share of their first MAC regular season title since the 1993-94 campaign. The Bobcats earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament for the first time since 1995 and tied Ohio program records with 14 league wins and seven MAC road victories.
Ohio's 24-10 record increased Christian's winning percentage while in the league to .704 (162-68), the best mark in MAC history by a sizable margin.
Christian's squad led the nation in assists per game (17.5) and ranked seventh in the country in turnover margin (+4.7), behind All-America honorable mention point guard D.J. Cooper. The first MAC Player of the Year from Ohio since 1995, Cooper ranked eighth in the nation in assists per game and became the first player in NCAA Division I history to record at least 2,000 points, 900 assists, 600 rebounds and 300 steals in a career.
In addition to Cooper's superb campaign, Christian mentored a duo of third team All-MAC selections in Walter Offutt and Reggie Keely. Under Christian's tutelage, both seniors earned All-MAC honors for the first time in their careers.
Christian returned to the MAC in 2012 after completing four seasons as men's basketball head coach at Texas Christian University.
In his final season in Fort Worth (2011-12), he led the Horned Frogs to their first postseason appearance since 2005. He coached six All-Mountain West Conference honorees, including first-team choice Hank Thorns Jr. and third-team pick J.R. Cadot.
Thorns, also appeared on the watch list for the Bob Cousy Award presented to the nation's top point guard and was named to the All-District 17 Second Team by the NABC. Thorns led TCU in 2011-12 in scoring (13.5 ppg), assists (4.66 apg) and 3-pointers (72). He also produced one of the top seasons ever for a TCU point guard in 2010-11, as he finished as the only individual ranked among the nation's top-12 players in both assists per game (No. 4) and assist-turnover ratio (No. 12).
To begin his tenure at TCU, Christian became the third coach in program history to win his first game as head coach and guided the Frogs to significant victories during the 2008-09 campaign, including home triumphs over Wichita State, UNLV, SMU and Colorado State. TCU notched its first six-game winning streak since the 1998-99 campaign and recorded nine-consecutive victories at home for the first time in over a decade.
Christian came to TCU after serving as the head men's basketball coach at Kent State (2002-08) for six seasons, where he won at least 20 games in each campaign. In his six seasons as head coach of the Golden Flashes, Christian climbed to second place on the all-time career victories list, only 10 triumphs shy of the record.
Under the guidance and leadership of Christian, the Golden Flashes garnered five postseason appearances in six campaigns, including a pair of trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2006 and 2008. Not only was the former Kent State head coach selected as the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year in two of his final three seasons, but Christian also led his team to its first-ever top-25 ranking after peaking at 23rd in the nation in the Associated Press poll and 24th in the ESPN/USA Today poll.
While the Golden Flashes excelled in non-conference action, Christian's teams saved their best games for Mid-American Conference opponents as Kent State recorded a 79-28 record (.738 winning percentage) while never finishing lower than second in the East Division during his six-year tenure. Over the course of his final three seasons, Christian led the Golden Flashes to a 40-10 (.800) conference mark, including a pair of Mid-American Conference Tournament Championships.
The 2007-08 campaign presented itself with one of the greatest seasons in the history of Kent State men's basketball. The Golden Flashes finished with a 28-7 overall record, including a school-record 25 regular- season triumphs, en route to securing their second Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament crowns. For the second time in the three seasons, Christian guided the Golden Flashes to a berth in the NCAA Tournament where Kent State recorded a ninth-seed, which was the highest seed in program history.
Christian's time as Kent State head coach was highlighted by numerous individual standouts, including two honorable-mention All-Americans (Antonio Gates, DeAndre Haynes), two MAC Players of the Year (DeAndre Haynes, Al Fisher), three MAC Defensive Players of the Year (Demetric Shaw, John Edwards, Haminn Quaintance), one MAC Sixth Man of the Year (Kevin Warzynski) and a total of 19 All-MAC selections, including six first teamers.
Prior to joining the Kent State coaching staff, Christian spent two years with Octagon Sports Marketing and Management in McLean, Va., as a college basketball talent evaluator. During his time with Octagon Sports Marketing and Management, Christian worked with over 20 NBA standouts where he conducted individual workouts.
Christian spent three seasons at then-BIG EAST program Pittsburgh, where he served as an assistant coach under his former high school coach, Ralph Willard. During his time with the Panthers, Christian aided the development of Vonteego Cummings, who was a two-time All-Big East Conference award winner and former NBA talent for the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors.
Christian served as an assistant coach under former Miami (Ohio) and current Arizona State head men's basketball coach Herb Sendek during the 1995-96 campaign. The coaching staff put together by Sendek that season served as an all-star cast almost a decade later with three current NCAA Division I head coaches coming from that program in Christian, Sean Miller (Arizona) and the late Charlie Coles (Miami Ohio).
During his lone season in Oxford, the RedHawks recorded a 21-8 overall record, including a 12-6 mark in conference action. The RedHawks earned a berth in the National Invitation Tournament during the 1995-96 season.
Christian notched a pair of stops in Bowling Green, Ky., as a member of the Western Kentucky men's basketball program. Christian got his first taste of collegiate coaching under Willard as a part-time assistant coach for two campaigns. In his first two seasons, Western Kentucky notched a 35-25 record, including a 21-11 overall record during the 1991-92 campaign.
Christian returned to the Hilltoppers for the 1994-95 campaign where he helped Western Kentucky post a 27-4 overall record, including a 17-1 record in Sun Belt Conference action. That season, Western Kentucky recorded the fourth-most victories in program history to go along with crowns in both the regular-season and tournament championships en route to securing a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Christian's first full-time assistant coaching position came at St. Francis (Pa.) - a member of the Northeast Conference - under Tom McConnell. In his two seasons with the Red Flashes, Christian guided the development of two-time All-Northeast Conference performer Deon George and Jason Roberts.
A native of Bethpage, N.Y., Christian was an all-state guard at St. Dominic High School while playing under Willard. Following his prep career, Christian was recruited by current Louisville head men's basketball coach Rick Pitino at Boston University where he played two seasons before transferring to Rhode Island.
Christian played his final two campaigns under Tom Penders at the University of Rhode Island where he helped the Rams reach the Sweet Sixteen of the 1988 NCAA Tournament.
The former standout guard guided the Rams to victories over Missouri and Syracuse before dropping a 73-72 decision to Duke for the right to advance to the Elite Eight. After earning his bachelor's degree in consumer affairs from the University of Rhode Island in 1988, Christian spent one season playing professionally in Australia for the Sydney City Comets.
Christian and his wife, Patty, were married in the summer of 2005, and have three children, MacKenzie, Zach and Jay.
THE CHRISTIAN FILE Hometown: Bethpage, N.Y. Education: University of Rhode Island (B.S., Consumer Affairs, 1988) Collegiate Athletic Experience: Basketball (Boston University, 1983-85; Rhode Island, 1986-88) Family: Patty (wife), MacKenzie, Zach and Jay (children) Coaching Experience: Ohio University (Head coach, 2012-Present) Texas Christian University (Head coach, 2008-12) Kent State University (Head coach, 2002-08) Kent State University (Assistant coach, 2001-02) University of Pittsburgh (Assistant coach, 1996-99) Miami (OH) University (Assistant coach, 1995-96) Western Kentucky University (Assistant coach, 1994-95) St. Francis (Pa.) University (Assistant coach, 1992-94) Western Kentucky University (Assistant coach, 1990-92)