In 2011, North Carolina State needed a basketball coach and interviewed Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall. He turned that job down, but kept in touch with associate athletic director Chris Kingston.
Three years later, Kingston hired Chris Jans as coach at Bowling Green and Marshall is thrilled that his top assistant landed the job. Jans joined Marshall’s first staff in 2007 and earned a promotion to associate head coach in 2011.
“I’ve been saying for a couple years now that he was ready to captain his own ship,” Marshall said. “He needed the right situation, where basketball was important. (Kingston) started watching us, and when he knew he needed a basketball coach, he zeroed in on Chris.”
Bowling Green introduced Jans on Tuesday in Bowling Green, Ohio. He takes over a program that last went to the NCAA Tournament in 1968. During his news conference, Jans thanked coaches such as Dave Farrar and Porter Moser before detailing his relationship with Marshall.
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“He gave me an unbelievable opportunity,” Jans said. “We built something from the ground up that we’re very proud of. I’m hoping to bring a lot of his recipe and his blueprint to Bowling Green State University.”
Jans will make $325,000 with a six-year contract, according to the Toledo (Ohio) Blade.
“(Kingston) came at Chris very aggressively and let Chris know he was the guy,” Marshall said.
Kingston, Jans said, contacted him earlier this month and came to Wichita to talk. After a few days of conversation, Kingston offered him the job. Tuesday’s news conference was scheduled, whether or not WSU’s season continued. Jans’ role in building Wichita State the past seven seasons made him an attractive candidate.
“He’s doing what we want to do,” Kingston said. “He blew me away with his energy, his expertise and his drive for excellence. Chris has earned everything he has achieved, and he’s a grinder.”
The Falcons have won nine Mid-American Conferences, most recently in 2009. Bowling Green’s recent history is not strong. It last recorded a winning season in 2008-09, when it went 19-14 and 11-5 in the MAC. It most recent 20-win season was 2002, when a 24-9 record under coach Dan Dakich got the Falcons a spot in the NIT. Current Miami (Fla.) Jim Larranaga coached at Bowling Green from 1986-1997.
“Kingston has a great vision, and Chris Jans will be able to implement that vision,” Marshall said.
Bowling Green plays in the Stroh Center, a 4,700-seat arena opened in 2011.
“I think it’s a gold mine,” Jans said. “I look forward to being the face of the men’s basketball program. This is the right place for me.”
Bowling Green fired coach Louis Orr after seven seasons earlier this month. He went 101-121 at Bowling Green and played in the NIT in 2009 and the CollegeInsider.com Tournament in 2012. The Falcons went 12-20 this season and will lose one starter. Leading scorer Richaun Holmes is a junior.
Jans, from Fairbank, Iowa, came to Wichita State after three seasons as an assistant under Moser at Illinois State. He was head coach at four junior colleges for six seasons. He won the NJCAA Division II title at Kirkwood (Iowa) in 1998 and finished sixth in the NJCAA Division I tournament in 2004 at Chipola (Fla.).