BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Canisius University hired former Boston College coach Jim Christian to take over its men’s basketball program on Monday.

The 59-year-old Christian joins the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference program after spending the past two seasons as an assistant at Kent State. In 2022-23, the Golden Flashes won 28 games and the Mid-American Conference tournament title to earn an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

At Canisius, he replaces Reggie Witherspoon, who’s contract was not renewed after eight seasons. Based in Buffalo, New York, the Golden Griffins spent much of last season without three key contributors in finishing 14-18, their fifth losing record in six years.

Christian has 19 seasons of college head-coaching experience, including stops at Kent State, TCU and Ohio, with an overall record of 317-273. He went 75-119 at Boston College from 2014-20, which included a 19-win season and an NIT berth in 2017-18.

During his six seasons coaching at Kent State from 2002-08, he was a two-time MAC coach of the year in leading the Golden Flashes to NCAA Tournament appearances in 2006 and ’08. And his .700 winning percentage (137-59) still ranks as the conference’s best.

“I am confident that I will be able to use the things I have learned in my 19 years as a head coach and put those into practice at Canisius on Day 1,” Christian said in a statement. “The close, family atmosphere I experienced on my visit there last week just further proved to me that Canisius is the right place for me, both personally and professionally. I am ready to get to Buffalo and I am ready to get to work.”

From Bethpage, New York, Christian was a member of the Rhode Island team that advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 1988 NCAA Tournament under coach Tom Penders.

Christian’s hiring fills one spot, with Canisius also looking for a women’s basketball head coach after Sahar Nusseibeh left for Eastern Michigan last month.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball