CIRCLEVILLE, OH - OCU Head Coach Curtis Christopher, OCU's all-time career wins leader, is hanging up the whistle after nine memorable seasons at the helm of Trailblazer basketball. Christopher made the announcement to his team and campus family this week, just days after returning from the NCCAA Final Four in Springfield, Missouri.
"My coaching career at OCU has been an unbelievable blessing. I am very proud of the program we have built," Christopher said. "We have won lots of games but more importantly we have used basketball as a tool to impact and change lives while committing to develop young men of character."
Christopher led the Trailblazers to a 27-10 record this season and a 3rd place finish at the NCCAA National Tournament. The 3rd place finish was the best finish in program history. OCU also won the Ohio Collegiate Athletic Conference championship and Mid-East Region championship with a perfect 12-0 record in region play this season.
"It was a tough decision for me but it will allow me to spend more time with my family and will give me the opportunity to enjoy my son's senior season at Fairfield Christian. As a father that really means a lot to me personally."
Christopher leaves OCU basketball much stronger than we he arrived on the scene in 1997. In his first stint as head coach he took over a program that had hit rock bottom with an 0-25 record during the 1996-97 season. The program improved significantly, winning 20 games and reaching a National Tournament by 2001. After a six year hiatus, Christopher returned in 2007 with a talented recruiting class that would go on to earn four straight NCCAA National Tournament appearances and three straight Mid-East Region titles. He leaves the program as the career wins leader with 132 wins over his nine seasons.
"Coach Christopher has provided great leadership for the men's basketball program at a time when it needed it the most," commented OCU president Dr. Mark A. Smith. "He has taken the program to a new level of success with the right players and right goals, to develop character. Only time and eternity will reveal the true impact he has had in the lives of the young men who have been a part of the program."
Christopher will remain at OCU as Vice President of Operations and be the lead man on new campus construction and facilities. He is currently overseeing construction the new Maxwell Leadership Center expansion, a five million dollar addition to the campus that will house a new dining commons, bookstore, offices, classroom, fitness center, and gym addition.
"It is a huge project that I am really excited about," said Christopher. "This new project will benefit our entire campus and the local community in the years to come. It will also give our basketball program some momentum as we enter an exciting new era of OCU basketball moving forward."
OCU Athletic Director Ben Belleman commented on his legacy. "Coach Christopher has taken the program to such a high level that interest in the open coaching position has resulted in an overwhelming number applicants and qualified candidates from across the nation. Any future success of the next coach will undoubtedly be built upon the strong foundation that has been built by Coach Christopher."