Young and hungry. The phrase applies to both Bashir Mason and Jamion Christian.
Those two men, both of whom have yet to see their 30th birthday, were handed the keys to NEC men’s basketball programs yesterday.
Mason, a St. Benedict’s (NJ) product, took over former his former boss Danny Hurley at Wagner. Christian, a Mount alumnus who played for NEC Hall of Fame coach Jim Phelan, returned to Emmitsburg to become the 21st head coach in the history of the program.
(If you think like we do here at Overtime!, you may find it unlikely the Mount has had 21 basketball coaches in its history being that Phelan was the head man for over half a century.)
In these two young men, Wagner and Mount hired familiar faces who understand the mission of both program and institution as a whole.
On Grymes Hill, Wagner enjoys continuity from the short-lived Hurley Era. Mason followed Hurley from St. Bendict’s to Staten Island and was one of the men who recruited a number of the student-athletes on the Seahawks’ present-day roster.
On the Mount, President Powell introduced someone who embodies the school’s spirit. In addition to bringing back a “man of great character” as Powell called him at yesterday’s presser, Mount St. Mary’s will also benefit from the great experience that Christian picked up on Shaka Smart’s staff at Virginia Commonwealth.
Bashir Mason came home to the Mount.
Both men may be young, but youth has by no means been a deterrent to head coaching success at the Division I level. In fact, Robert Morris fans have seen that right here in the Northeast Conference with Andy Toole. In his two seasons at Robert Morris, Toole, who was the youngest head coach in DI at the time of his hiring, the team has won 44 games and made two NEC Championship Game appearances. Oh, and that young guy over at Butler has done quite well for himself, too.
Youth usually translates into energy as well, and energy, at all levels, is what programs need to succeed.
Christian will use his Mount roots and VCU experience to mine into the deep talent pool that is Maryland and Virginia high school hoops for capable young men, who are looking to play the aggressive style he will employ.
If Mason’s team does one thing, it will be playing DEFENSE. The former standout at Drexel has been about that seven-letter word since his playing days. He was a four-time member of the CAA’s All-Defensive Team and was the first man in league history to win the Defensive Player of the Year awards as a freshman.
Both the Mount and Wagner did an admirable job in using Twitter to disseminate information on their press conferences and give fans an inside look at the happenings. Here’s some of what their Twitter feeds had to say…
@MountStMarysU – Jamion Christian – Mount St. Mary’s University new head coach men’s basketball http://pic.twitter.com/7fcsJxBv
@MountStMarysU – Legendary Coach Jim Phelan at Mount press conference announcing new men’s basketball coach #nec #gomount http://pic.twitter.com/f1lRVUwy
@MountStMarysU – “Jamion Christian a man of great character…thrilled to welcome him back to his mountain home.” Thomas Powell
@WagnerAthletics – Mason: “That job isn’t done yet. @WagnerHoops is here to stay. It is on the rise for many years to come.”
@WagnerAthletics – Mason: “We’ve started something here for the past two years, with this team. raising young men, building them to be good student-athletes.”
@WagnerAthletics – MBB: President Richard Guarasci, Head Basketball Coach Bashir Mason & Athletic Director Walt Hameline … @WagnerHoops http://pic.twitter.com/NXjH769H
@WagnerAthletics – MBB: Another great photo of Bashir Mason and his family … @WagnerHoops #FAMILY http://pic.twitter.com/a8aKmSyT
Here’s What Other Twitterers Had to Say about the two NEC men’s hoops hires…
@NECcommish – Welcome @NECsports newest MBB coaches @WagnerAthletics elevates asst Bashir Mason and @MountAthletics tabs VCU’s @JamionChristian. #NECMBB
@dhurley15 – So excited for my former @StBenedictsPrep man Bashir Mason. Officially named Head Coach @WagnerCollege today at presser. Great day! Proud!
@Eric_WorldPeace – Watchin the press conference live @WagnerAthletics to see my man Coach Bash get introduced as the new coach! … http://tmi.me/nw96o
@MattLeonKYW – Good day for @DrexelDragons MBB – well deserved extension for Bruiser Flint and former Dragon Bashir Mason gets head coach gig at Wagner
@adamamin – Bashir Mason, 28, taking over at Wagner. Youngest HC in NCAA. Played for Bruiser Flint at Drexel so he’ll be tough defensively.
@AnandaRochita – Congrats on being the new Mount Basketball head coach @jamionchristian. Hope you’ll enjoy the move from Richmond to Emmitsburg
@NescitOccasum – @MountAthletics Great week in Mount Athletics – Coach G and his men win @ Michigan and Mount alum Coach C takes charge of MBB! Go MOUNT!
Christian returns to alma mater as head coach – Hanover Evening Sun (Daniel Paulling)
For new Wagner basketball coach Bashir Mason, age is a just a number – Staten Island Advance (Cormac Gordon)
Wagner tabs Jersey City native Bashir Mason as men’s basketball head coach, to succeed Dan Hurley – The Star Ledger (Brendan Prunty)
Bashir Mason taking over as coach at Wagner – USA Today (Jim Halley)
Wagner/Bashir Mason Press Conference
Mount St. Mary’s/Jamion Christian Press Conference
– Mar. 28, 2012 –