Calvin College women’s basketball program has turned to a familiar face in Mark Christner as its new coach in an effort to settle a program that has been in decline in recent years.
Christner, a 1999 Calvin College graduate, returns after spending nine years as head men's basketball coach at Waynesburg University (Pa.). Before that, the Big Rapids native spent eight years as an assistant coach with the Calvin men's basketball program and three years as an assistant coach with the Calvin women's basketball program.
Calvin, a longtime NCAA Division III powerhouse, hopes he can turn around the program. Last season, the Knights went 12-14 (7-9 and fourth in MIAA) as their coach, Chuck Winkelman, resigned in January after an 8-8 start.
The Knights’ record has slowly declined since 2014-15 when the team went 30-1.
Winkleman succeeded long-time coach John Ross in 2016.
“I am extremely grateful and blessed to have this opportunity,” Christner said. "I would like to personally thank Dr. (Jim) Timmer and Dr. (Nancy) Meyer for extending this opportunity to me. They have both been wonderful to me in this process.
"It is a bittersweet in that I am leaving my Waynesburg family. What makes this change much easier is that I will be rejoining a family that is also very close to my heart in Calvin College. I am looking forward to joining a program with a strong tradition and a good base of players. The MIAA is a nationally-known conference for women's basketball and we have work to do to keep moving upwards. I am looking forward to the challenge."
At Waynesburg, Christner took over a men’s basketball program that went 2-22 record the year before his arrival. He led the Yellow Jackets to five double-digit win seasons, including 18-11 in 2014-15 when Waynesburg reached the President’s Athletics Conference Tournament Championship game.
During his eight years (2002-2010) as an assistant men’s basketball coach and head men’s junior varsity coach at Calvin, Christner helped lead the Knights to four berths in the NCAA Division III national tournament. Calvin went 158-73 record in that span and won three MIAA regular season titles. Over that same stretch, the Knights won three MIAA tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Division III national semifinals in 2005.
Before working with the men's team, Christner broke in as a coach at Calvin with the women's basketball team from 1999 to 2002. In 2000, the Calvin women made it all the way to the NCAA Division III Tournament Round of 16.
"It is with great excitement that I welcome Mark Christner home as our new women's basketball coach," said Timmer , Calvin's athletic director. "He is well-versed in the mission of our institution and he has a deep love for Calvin College. He also has a strong understanding of what it takes to produce a successful basketball program, both on and off the court. I am confident that Mark will do a tremendous job as our head women's basketball coach and our athletic department is looking forward to having him rejoin our family."
Christner earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1999 from Calvin, where he majored in history and minored in physical education with an emphasis in coaching. He went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in physical education with a pedagogy emphasis in 2005 from Western Michigan University.
At Calvin, he played two years on the Calvin junior varsity men's basketball team and one year on the varsity. Christner was a Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, & Sport (HPERDS) instructor at Calvin from 2006 until he left the school and was an adjunct instructor in the same program from 2004 to 2006.
He also spent four years (2000-2004) as a social studies teacher at both the Creston Christian School and the Holy Spirit School in Grand Rapids.
Source : https://www.mlive.com/sports/grand-rapids/2019/04/calvin-turns-to-familiar-face-to-steady-womens-basketball-program.htmlThanks for visit my website