Northeast Iowa Native Earns SEC Basketball Head Coaching Job
New Mexico State was one of the many schools that destroyed brackets everywhere this March after the 12-seed Aggies took down fifth-seeded UConn in the first round, 70-63.
Their head coach, Chris Jans has been a gigantic part of their success over the last few years, and now, he's moving on.
The Fairbanks, Iowa native and Wapsie Valley High School graduate is taking the head coaching position at Mississippi State University after racking up 122 wins, 4 WAC titles, and 3 trips to the NCAA Tournament in Las Cruces. He'll be replacing Ben Howland, who coached the Bulldog program over the last seven years.
Jans said this to The Dispatch in regards to his new position:
This is an exciting day for my family and me. When I started this, I wanted to be at a place like Mississippi State. I just wanted to be somewhere where it was important and we were on the biggest stage and we were competing with and against the best players in college basketball and the best coaches in college basketball. … I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to have that opportunity.
The paper reported that Jans will receive "a raise of over $2 million," and he "will make $2.4 million in base salary — plus up to $650,000 in performance incentives — in each year of a four-year contract at Mississippi State."
Prior to Jans' tenure at NMSU, he began his head coaching career at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, leading the program for two years. He also spent time as a top assistant at Illinois State and Wichita State, when both were in the same conference as Northern Iowa -- the Missouri Valley.
He led the program at Bowling Green for one season as well, when he led the Falcons to a 21-12 record and won the Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year award. In his tenure as a head coach, he has won 76.5 percent of his games at the Division I level. That is fourth among active coaches and puts him in legendary company with Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Kansas’ Bill Self, and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.
This is what athletic director at Mississippi State, John Cohen had to say about their new coach, per the Clarion Ledger:
Chris Jans is ready to invest in the people of Mississippi. He is ready to elevate our program. He is ready to position our student-athletes to compete for championships. And he’s ready to bring a brand of basketball back to The Hump, of which our fans will be proud.
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