Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.
LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State Director of Athletics Mario Moccia announced Thursday that head men’s basketball coach Chris Jans has agreed to a restructured contract that will keep him through the 2021-22 season.
“The success Coach Jans had in his inaugural season was phenomenal,” said Moccia. “After three-consecutive seasons with a new head coach, it was imperative for the program to retain him for the long term. Being fiscally responsible is a must at NM State Athletics and 100% of the funds towards the new contract came from private donors and funds made available through our recent debt extension.”
“Sheri and I are thrilled to be members of the Las Cruces community and love the passion they have shown for New Mexico State basketball,” Jans said. “We appreciate the support that we have continued to receive from the community, especially from Mario Moccia, the University administration as well as the Board of Regents. Aggie basketball is special and we are looking forward to building on last year’s success.”
In his first season at the helm, Jans had unprecedented success and set numerous program records. He first completed the sweep of Battle of I-10 rival UTEP in dominating fashion and then cemented his name into Aggie lore with the sweep of Battle of I-25 rival New Mexico and became the only first-year head coach to sweep both rivals UNM and UTEP.
The veteran coach then navigated wins over Illinois at the United Center followed by a runner-up finish at the 2017 Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic with wins over Atlantic-10 Champion Davidson and an upset victory over then-undefeated No. 6/7 Miami.
Jans then captured NM State’s third outright Western Athletic Conference title in four years while also becoming the only first-year head coach to claim the regular-season title and was voted on by his peers as the WAC Coach of the Year. His encore came in Las Vegas, Nev., as the Aggies rolled past the competition in the conference tournament and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in seven years.
NM State wrapped up its season 28-6 overall and tied the program record for the most wins in a single-season. At season’s end, Jemerrio Jones was named the ninth All-American and the fifth player in program history to earn Associated Press All-America honors. Jones and guard Zach Lofton were also named to the United States Basketball Writers Association All-District team.
Lofton has since played for the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Summer League and had a stellar outing, averaging 10.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists. His 10.8 points during the NBA Summer League for the Pistons was third-best on the team. In his final game of the summer, Lofton dropped 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting with five rebounds.
Despite having only five returners, one starter, for the upcoming 2018-19 season, Jans has reloaded his roster with a pair of top-10 JUCO players in Ivan Aurrecoechea and Mohamed Thiam. In addition, he bolstered his team with transfers Clayton Henry and Terrell Brown on top of freshmen Berrick JeanLouis and Addison Wallace. Last, but not least, Jans will have the services of JoJo Zamora, Jabari Rice, C.J. Bobbitt and Robert Brown – who redshirted last season.