This wasn’t supposed to happen so quickly.
In March 2008, men’s head basketball coach Jim Christian was hired to take over a team that appeared to be in shambles.
The team had compiled a 75-108 record during six disappointing seasons under former head coach Neil Dougherty and finished in last place in two of its three seasons in the Mountain West Conference.
Last year’s squad went 14-16 overall with a 6-10 mark in the MWC, good for a seventh place finish in the conference.
To make matters even worse, only four players from last year’s team returned for Christian’s inaugural season at TCU.
When you put all of this information into perspective, it makes this season’s accomplishments, so far, even more impressive.
Christian has brought a winning mentality to a program that once seemed like it almost expected to lose when it took the court.
In fact, all he has ever done is win.
In six seasons as head coach at Kent State University, Christian never had fewer than 20 wins. He had a .704 winning percentage while at Kent State, the best in the history of the Mid-American Conference. Last year at Kent State, he led his team to a 28-7 overall record, including a prefect 16-0 mark at home and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. It was the team’s second appearance in the tournament in three seasons.
In his first season at TCU, Christian has led his team to a 12-6 record with a 3-1 mark in the Mountain West Conference, good enough for a share of first place with the University of Utah.
The team is also 8-1 at home, with its only loss coming against the University of Nebraska back in November.
Christian has restocked a depleted talent pool with players who have come in and contributed immediately.
Junior forwards Zvonko Buljan and Edvinas Ruzgas, who were both brought on board this season, are second and third on the team in scoring.
Freshman guard Ronnie Moss, who originally signed with Kent State but followed Christian to TCU, has displayed a lot of poise for a young player and is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.3 points per game. He shows fans and opponents why his nickname is “Tuffy” on a game-by-game basis.
Perhaps we should have expected this type of season out of the Horned Frogs. Christian’s track record certainly speaks for itself. But I’m not sure anyone could have predicted a 12-6 record and a share of the conference lead at this point the season.
If Christian can continue to help his young squad improve, there’s no telling where this season, or this program, could go.