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Mount St. Mary’s, Jamion Christian agree to 10-year extension

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Mount St. Mary's v Villanova

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Head coach Jamion Christian of the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers reacts in the first half against the Villanova Wildcats during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

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Following a second trip to the NCAA Tournament, Mount St. Mary’s has agreed to a lengthy contract extension with head coach Jamion Christian, keeping the 34-year-old in Emmitsburg through the 2026-27 season.

The university made the announcement on Thursday morning.

“Since Jamion’s return to the Mount five years ago, the men’s basketball program has flourished,” Director of Athletics Lynne Robinson said in a statement. ‘In addition to leading the team to outstanding success on the court, Jamion has maintained a tireless commitment to the welfare and academic success of our student-athletes, as well as serving as a tremendous ambassador for Mount St. Mary’s in the community and with our alumni.”

One of the brightest young coaches in the game, his success at Mount St. Mary’s has been built around defense. The Mountaineers ranked in the top-25 in defensive turnover rate, according to kenpom.

Given his age, his immediate success as a head coach and his playing style, it wasn’t surprising to see his name initially pop up for several coaching vacancies this past spring.

Christian, who previously served on Shaka Smart’s staff at VCU, has an 83-81 record but is 55-33 in Northeast Conference play. He righted the ship after a 1-11 start to this past season, guiding the Mountaineers to the NCAA Tournament with a win over St. Francis (PA) in the NEC Tournament championship game. His first 20-win season was clinched in the First Four following a 67-66 victory over New Orleans.

Christian received the Ben Jobe Award winner for the 2016-17 season, given to the top minority coach in men’s Division I basketball.

The Mountaineers are poised for another strong campaign this upcoming year. Second-leading scorer Junior Robinson and top rebounder Chris Wray are returning. However, leading scorer Elijah Long along with Mawdo Sallah and Miles Wilson, two other starters, both transferred out of the program at season’s end.