Starkville, MS

Mississippi State hires New Mexico State’s Chris Jans as next men’s basketball head coach

Collin Wilmes

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STARKVILLE, Miss. — Mississippi State University announced on Sunday that Chris Jans has been hired as its next men’s basketball coach, a day after he led New Mexico State to the NCAA Tournament’s second round.

Jans led 12th-seeded New Mexico State to an upset of fifth-seeded UConn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last week before falling 53-48 to fourth-seeded Arkansas in Saturday night’s West Region game in Buffalo, New York. He was 122-32 in five seasons with New Mexico State and guided the program to four regular-season Western Athletic Conference championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances. His .765 winning percentage as a Division I coach ranks him fourth nationally among active head coaches behind Gonzaga’s Mark Few (.837), Kansas’ Bill Self (.768) and Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (.766). Jans replaces Ben Howland, who was fired after making just one NCAA Tournament appearance in seven seasons.

Jans also served two stints on Wichita State’s coaching staff, helping lead the Shockers to seven consecutive NCAA Tournament berths during his first stint. His coaching career also includes four head coach jobs at the junior college level, which includes a Division II junior college national championship in 1998 as the head coach at Kirkwood Community College.

“The Mississippi State Family is thrilled to welcome Chris Jans as our next head coach,” athletic director John Cohen said in a statement. “Throughout our thorough research, what stood out about Coach Jans was his culture of accountability, hard-working mentality, emphasis on player development, and vision for the future. Coach Jans is a proven leader and winner, who is considered by many to be one of the top coaches in the game. He is a tireless recruiter, brilliant Xs and Os tactician, and his overall resume speaks for itself.

“In 12 years as a head coach at the Division I and JUCO levels, he won 20 or more games in all but one season. He helped build Wichita State into a powerhouse in the mid-2010s, where they averaged 30 wins each of his last four seasons, including a Final Four appearance and a 35-0 start in his final season. We’re pleased to welcome him, his wife Sheri, his son Nick and daughter Maddie to the Bulldog Family.”

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