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Mississippi State Bulldogs to hire Chris Jans as new men’s basketball coach, sources say

Mississippi State is expected to hire New Mexico State coach Chris Jans as the school’s next men’s basketball coach, sources told ESPN. There is strong mutual interest and an agreement should be finalized in the near future.

Jans led New Mexico State to surprise fifth-seeded UConn in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last week, scoring the school’s first NCAA Tournament win since 1970. Jans went 122 -32 in five seasons at New Mexico State, which includes four regular-season WAC championships and three NCAA tournament appearances.

Jans will replace Ben Howland, who the Bulldogs parted ways after posting a 134-98 record but failed to win an NCAA Tournament game in his seven seasons in Starkville. Howland’s teams and his defensive style at first had begun to fall out of favor in the program.

Jans, 52, was a Division I coach for six seasons, and he was 143-44 in five years at Las Cruces and one at Bowling Green. His .765 winning percentage ranks him in the top five in the country among active coaches. .

State officials also saw Jans’ work firsthand, as New Mexico State beat the Bulldogs 58-52 in Jackson, Mississippi, in December 2019. The Aggies showed the same kind of verve and fearlessness they showed in their upset of UConn and in their 53-48 loss to Arkansas in the second round of the tournament on Saturday.

An off-court incident led to Jans being fired from Bowling Green in April 2015. An email to the school detailed Jans’ inappropriate behavior at a bar in March, which included a video of Jans touching a woman’s buttocks. woman. five years and over $1.6 million remaining on his contract.

Sources say Mississippi state officials have developed a comfort level with Jans after two separate background checks and the fact that no issues were reported in the seven years since he was fired.

A source told ESPN that the state of Mississippi hired an outside law firm to search for all the candidates, and that this group called the administrations, players and former staff members of Bowling Green, the Wichita State and New Mexico State, which helped them feel comfortable with his candidacy.

Mississippi State’s research included interviews with former New Mexico State players, and they were unanimous in praising Jans’ unique ability to maximize talent, sources said. and players have always found Jans supportive.

One of the factors that drew Mississippi State officials to Jans was his experience at junior college and Bowling Green and New Mexico State, which prepared him well for basketball. modern university and the age of the portal. He appeared in three NCAA tournaments and won four regular-season titles in five seasons in New Mexico with significant roster turnover through transfers and junior college players.

Jans also served as an assistant coach at Wichita State during the Shockers’ undefeated 2013-14 regular season. jobs he held.

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