Chris Jans Deserves Second Chance with NMSU
It took NMSU Athletic Director Mario Moccia only six days to find Paul Weir’s replacement. Yesterday, NMSU named Chris Jans the new men’s basketball head coach. The 48-year old had spent the last two seasons at Wichita State and had just been named associate head coach of the Shockers before becoming the leading candidate to take over the Aggies. However, Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall gave his longtime assistant the green light to pursue the job at NMSU. "We want to see our coaches and our players achieve their dreams and aspirations," Marshall told the Wichita Eagle. "That’s what we preach. When we’re successful, things like this happen."
Since 2007, Jans spent a total of nine years with Marshall at Wichita State. In 2014, he left the program to pursue his first Division 1 head coaching opportunity at Bowling Green. He took a team that had won just 12 games the season before and finished with a 21-12 record. Less than a month after his first season, Jans was fired by Bowling Green after being caught on a cell phone video and admitting to acting inappropriately toward female patrons at a bar near campus.
Moccia, who has known Jans for the last 10 years, did not hesitate to give the veteran coach another chance at becoming a Division 1 head coaching opportunity. At the press conference introducing him to NMSU, Jans was grateful.
"I made a huge mistake and I have paid for it dearly," Jans said. "As coaches, we talk all the time about consequences and actions. And I failed that night. It was embarrassing, it was embarrassing for my family, it was embarrassing for the university, it was embarrassing for the students and it was embarrassing for anyone who was a Chris Jans fan. It was an embarrassment for college basketball and I’m not proud of it. All I ask is that you let me earn your trust, you let me earn your respect and I think you’ll be very proud of the way I go about my business. I think you would be very proud how I lead this program and I want to be a source of pride for all of you down the road."
UTEP fans know a little something about second chances. Football coach Mike Price was given an opportunity to take over the Miners in late 2003 when no other school wanted to hire him. He instantly made UTEP football relevant and brought national attention to the program. Jans will try to have the same effect with the Aggies. He will spend the next few weeks assembling his staff and forming his roster for the 2017-18 season. Meanwhile, the Battle of I-25 should be more interesting than ever, and Weir’s first trip back to the Pan American Center with his Lobos later this year could be the toughest ticket to get in Las Cruces.