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Chris Jans - Headshot - AL17 - 1

Chris Jans

New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia handed the reins to the coveted Aggie men’s basketball program to Chris Jans on Monday, April 17, naming the Fairbank, Iowa, native the 26th head men’s basketball coach at NM State. Since doing so, Jans has ushered in an unprecedented run of success in Las Cruces by winning an average of 23.8 games per year and laying claim to three consecutive Western Athletic Conference regular season titles as well as a pair of WAC Tournament crowns.

As he prepares to begin his fifth season in charge of the Aggies in the 2021-22 academic year, Jans has cemented himself as one of the nation's premier bench bosses. His .758 winning percentage is the fifth-highest among the active NCAA Division I men's basketball head coaching ranks while his complete body of work as an NCAA Division I head coach includes 116 victories - one of the highest totals through a head coach's first five years in NCAA Division I men's basketball history. 
The 25-year veteran took the helm of an Aggie team that had won a program record 28 games the year prior and matched that triumph total by amassing 28 in his first year. Since his arrival, New Mexico State has beaten its first AP top-10 opponent in 17 seasons as well as taken down a total of Power 5 teams in Illinois, #6/7 Miami, Mississippi State and Washington State (twice). His tenure started off with a bang, sweeping both UNM and UTEP before winning 11-straight.
Jans was named the WAC Coach the Year after leading the Aggies to a 12-2 conference finish to claim the regular-season title and added a WAC Tournament title to his name when the Aggies defeated Grand Canyon 72-58 – which gave NM State its sixth NCAA Tournament berth in seven seasons.
Under his direction, Jemerrio Jones was named the WAC Player of Year while Zach Lofton was named First-Team All-WAC. Jones was also named to the all-defensive team while AJ Harris joined Lofton on the all-newcomer list. In addition, Jones and Lofton were named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s All-District VIII team as well as the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ first-team and second-team for district six, respectively.
Jans didn’t disappoint the following year in 2018-19, guiding the Aggies to a program-best 30-5 record after leading NM State to its 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance. New Mexico State also tallied the third-longest winning-streak in program history with 19-consecutive wins.
The veteran coach was once again voted on by his peers as the 2019 Don Haskins Coach of the Year after going 15-1 in league play with 10 new players and only one starter returning. Prior to the WAC Tournament Championship game, Jans was named a finalist for the Hugh Durham Award – which is given out to the nation’s top mid-major coach. He was also selected by his coaching peers as the 2019 NABC All-District Coach (District 6) while Terrell Brown was named to the NABC All-District Second-Team (District 6).
In addition, the Aggies also claimed their second-straight regular-season title under Jans while also putting on a dominating 89-57 win over Grand Canyon in the WAC Tournament title game – which was the highest margin of victory in the tournament championship. The win is NM State’s ninth WAC Tournament title overall and third-straight, including the last two under Jans.

Hit with a multitude of injuries prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, Jans did not let that deter him as he, he staff and the Aggies overcame them to go 25-6 on the year. That record included the first perfect 16-0 WAC record in the history of the league and culminated with the program's third-consecutive WAC regular season title before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down college basketball. 

For a third-straight season, Jans earned the title of Don Haskins Coach of the Year from the WAC and he repeated as the NABC's All-District Six Coach of the Year. The accolades rolled in for the Aggies, too, who saw a total of five players secure All-WAC honors of some kind. Ivan Aurrecoechea and Jabari Rice collected All-WAC First Team nods, Trevelin Queen was placed on the All-WAC Second Team, Terrell Brown carved out a spot for himself on the All-WAC Defensive Team and Evan Gilyard II grabbed All-WAC Newcomer Team recognition. Both Aurrecoecha and Queen picked up All-NABC District Six Second Team nods while the latter also received USBWA All-District VIII Team plaudits. 

Through the course of the 2020-21 season, a campaign which featured numerous starts and stops due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Jans' job was arguably among the toughest in the nation as the Aggies were unable to play any games in the state of New Mexico due to a state public health order. NM State could not even conduct full practices in the state until mid-January, but still moved on to the WAC Tournament title game as the third overall seed. 
He began his second-stint at Wichita State prior to the start of the 2016-17 season under head coach Greg Marshall. At the conclusion of that season, Jans was elevated to associate head coach before taking the NM State head coaching job.
Prior to returning to WSU, Jans coordinated one of the nation’s best turnarounds in 2014-15 in his first year as the head coach at Bowling Green. In just one season, he took a BGSU team that lost 20 games in 2013-14 and guided it to a record-setting 21-12 overall mark in 2014-15 – which was the most wins in a single-season for Bowling Green since 2001-02 (24).
With the 21 wins, Jans became the first head coach in Falcons history to lead the team to 20 wins or more in his first year at the helm. His record-setting 21 wins eclipsed the 18 wins set previously by hall of famers Harold Anderson and Bill Fitch.
The 2014-15 campaign also saw Jans lead BGSU to its first national postseason tournament victory since 1975 when the Falcons defeated Saint Francis (Pa.) in the 2015 Tournament (CIT).
In that same year, Bowling Green finished Mid-American Conference play 11-7 – which was the most wins in MAC play for BGSU since going 11-5 during the 2008-09 season. In addition, the Falcons also reeled off 11 road victories for the first time since the 1947-48 season.
 With the historic year for Falcon men’s basketball, Jans was chosen by his peers as the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ top first-year head coach with the 2015 Joe B. Hall National Coach of the Year award.
Before taking the helm at BGSU, Jans spent seven years alongside Marshall at Wichita State (2007-14). He was a member of the inaugural staff with Marshall at WSU and turned the program around to become the staple of the NCAA Tournament it is now. After just one season, the Shockers earned a CBI bid in 2009 followed by an NIT bid at home in 2010 with the help of future NBA guard Toure’ Murry and center Garrett Stutz.
The Shockers began to break through in the 2010-11 campaign when they recorded 24 wins and a runner-up finish in conference play. Despite missing the Big Dance, WSU gave Shocker fans some hope when it reeled off five-consecutive wins and won the program’s first NIT Championship.
Wichita State claimed the Missouri Valley Conference title the following year and made its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2006 as the No. 5 seed before falling to the 12th-seeded Cinderella VCU Rams.
Jans was instrumental in landing Ron Baker, a future All-American and NBA player, who helped guide WSU to its deep run in the NCAA Tournament in 2013. The Shockers broke a lot of brackets that season, taking down Pittsburgh and the overall No. 1 seed Gonzaga to reach the Sweet 16 before taking down a hot La Salle and Ohio State team to earn Wichita State its first Final Four appearance since 1965.
In the final season of his first stint with the Shockers, Jans helped Wichita State set an NCAA record with a 35-0 start to the season. During that stretch, WSU ran the gamut in the Valley and became the first program to go undefeated in nearly 30 years. That season also saw Fred VanVleet, Cleanthony Early and Baker earn first-team all-conference selections while Early and VanVleet notched All-America honors on top of VanVleet adding MVC Player of the Year to his mantle of awards.
He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at NCAA Division III Elmhurst College in 1992 before taking a similar role at NAIA Grande View College in 1994. Jans earned his first head coaching opportunity when he took over at NJCAA Division II Kirkwood Community College in 1996.
Jans was named the Region XI Coach of the Year after guiding the Eagles to a 25-10 season, which included a conference title and the program’s first-ever national tournament appearance. He followed up his rookie season with a 31-6 campaign highlighted by Kirkwood capturing the NJCAA Division II National Championship and Jans being named the National Coach of the Year.
 Sandwiched in between his time at Independence Community College (1998-99) and Howard College (2001-03), Jans got his first taste of the Division I level as an assistant coach at Idaho (1999-01) under David Farrar.
After Howard, he took over at Chipola Junior College and joined forces with Greg Heiar – who played for Jans in his rookie season as a head coach at Kirkwood CC and was a fellow assistant coach at WSU. Success continued to follow Jans as he led Chipola JC to its first conference title in a decade while finishing sixth at the NJCAA Division I National Tournament and finished 32-5 overall.
Jans then made his second appearance at the Division I level, this time as an assistant coach at Illinois State (2004-07) on Porter Moser’s staff before joining Marshall at Wichita State.
Jans was a three-year starter at Loras College (1987-91) and was named a captain as a senior. During his time in Dubuque, Iowa, he helped the Duhawks break 16 scoring records and two NCAA Division III records for three-point shooting.
A graduate of Loras College in 1991, Jans earned his bachelor degrees in marketing and finance. He and his wife Sheri have two kids, Nick and Maddie Gazda.