ALBANY — Jamion Christian, the 17th head coach in Siena men’s basketball program history, was introduced on Wednesday to the media and fans in a press conference and ceremony at the Times Union Center.
Christian, 36, replaces Jimmy Patsos, who resigned on April 13 following allegations of verbal abuse towards a team manager among other accusations.
Christian comes to Loudonville as the head coach of Mount St. Mary’s, a program in Maryland out of the NEC. He had a record of 101-95 in six seasons, but a conference record of 67-39 and got the Mountaineers to a pair of NCAA tournaments, in 2014 and 2017.
“I was really excited that (Siena) reached out to me for a chance to coach these guys here and just give me an opportunity to continue with my passion to help lead young people and help them become the best versions of themselves and we’re going to get to work on that right away,” Jamion Christian said.
Christian, who hails from Quinton, Virginia and was joined by his fiancee Allie and five-year-old son Jacoy, has gained fame for his “Mayhem” style of play, which emphasizes three-point shooting on the offensive side and lots of defensive pressure. Last season, Mount St. Mary’s led the Northeast Conference in three-point shooting at 37.9% on 538 attempts. It is expected that he will bring that style to Siena and the MAAC.
“We’re going to be in attack mode and we’re going to do that from day one. I told these guys today, we’re going to be the best-conditioned team in the country,” Christian said. “Our style of play is going to be real simple. Everything’s going to be player-centric.”
Siena Vice President/athletic director John D’Argenio said that they first met with Christian eight days ago and had a number of candidates interested in the job but their search committee decided on Christian.
“There were a number of people that had a genuine interest to lead Siena College basketball, and really that was very humbling to not only me and our department, but to the College and I think the area as well. It’s a testament to our past coaches, players, current players, this area and everybody in the community that people have such a high interest and high regard for the Siena College basketball program,” D’Argenio said.
Christian added that Siena had a great basketball tradition and is excited to be a part of it.
“Part of the excitement when you look at it, honestly, you look at the tradition. Mount St. Mary’s has a great basketball tradition, Siena has a great basketball tradition, those are things that if you’re a coach and you have a passion and an enthusiasm to achieve greatness you want to find a place that has tradition,” Christian said.
In his first season, Christian will be tasked with turning around a program that went 8-24 last season and has not reached the NCAA tournament since 2010, when the program was under Fran McCaffrey. As of Wednesday it is unclear which players will be leaving and which players will be staying. Prince Oduro, Roman Penn and Jordan Horn have all received their transfer releases but all three have the option to remain at Siena if they choose to.
“I had the chance to meet with (the players) today and you could just see in their eyes the passion for turning this program around and getting right back to the top. It won’t change unless the people in the room want it to change and one of the things with the guys on the roster, they have a great passion for making the change,” Christian said.
Siena’s schedule for the 2018-19 season has not been released yet but will be at some point this summer.
UC Sports staff writer Henry Golden contributed to this story.