Berkeley Today Stories

Chris Christiansen, Berkeley College Men's Basketball Coach

Up Close with Men’s Basketball Head Coach Chris Christiansen



Chris Christiansen, Head Coach of the Berkeley College New York Men’s Basketball team for the past 21 and a half seasons, also serves as Assistant Chair, Management, in the Larry L. Luing School of Business® at Berkeley College. During his tenure as Coach, he has guided the Knights to nine Hudson Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championships (2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017) in 12 years as official members of the HVIAC. In 2011 Berkeley began competing nationally in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA).

Under Coach Christiansen’s guidance, the Berkeley College Knights have qualified for seven consecutive appearances in the USCAA Division II Basketball National Championship. He led the team to the institution’s first national crown in the 2014-2015 campaign, when the Knights won 11 consecutive contests to close the season, en route to a USCAA title. The following year – 2015-2016 – he paced Berkeley to a 24-1 mark and another national title. This season, he and his staff coached the Knights to an unblemished 26-0 record, which marked a record-breaking 50-game winning streak. As of March 1, 2017, the team is three victories away from its third consecutive USCAA title.

Coach Christiansen has extended his leadership philosophy to the team’s players off of the court through a number of community-based efforts. Examples include hosting two basketball clinics – one at a middle school in Washington Heights, and the other at a homeless shelter on the Lower East Side of New York City. He and his assistant coaches pride themselves on developing young men for the future, both athletically and academically. He empowers his players to work hard in the areas of discipline, respect and dedication.
Coach Christiansen’s extraordinary style of leadership is well received throughout Berkeley College and among his peers. He has exemplified the expression that “actions in life situations speak much more profoundly than the words one preaches,” for more than four decades.

Men’s Basketball Record

Following are the win-loss records for the Berkeley College Knights under Coach Chris Christiansen’s direction. The team joined the Hudson Valley Inter-collegiate Athletic Conference (HVIAC) in 2005-2006. The team advanced to become the United States College Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II champions in 2015 and 2016.

2005-2006: 16-3 (.842)
2006-2007: 12-5 (.706)
2007-2008: 12-9 (.571)
2008-2009: 11-8 (.579)
2009-2010: 8-9 (.471)
2010-2011: 18-7 (.720)
2011-2012: 20-9 (.690)
2012-2013: 16-8 (.667)
2013-2014: 15-10 (.600)
2014-2015: 22-5 (.815)
2015-2016: 24-1 (.960)
2016-2017: 26-0 (.1000) *Record updated through 3/1/2017
Win Total: 200-74 (.729)

The above span of time includes nine HVIAC titles, and two USCAA Division II National titles.

Up Close with Coach Chris Christiansen

Stephen Spagnoli, Assistant Athletic Director for Berkeley College, caught up with Coach Christiansen during the United States College Athletic Association (USCAA) Division II Basketball National Championship in Uniontown, PA, the week of March 1, 2017, to ask him about his coaching style.

Q: What are the five values that you teach your student-athletes?

A: Respect, Self-Discipline, Persistence, Team Spirit, and Communication

Q: How does it feel to be named the 2016-2017 USCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year?

A: It truly is an honor for me to be named the 2016-2017 USCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year. There are so many hard-working coaches on the national scene, and while I take a tremendous amount of pride in being recognized, I also want to give credit to my coaching staff and the student-athletes, because they work so diligently and sacrifice so much in order for us to have the amazing success we’ve had as a team.

I am a true believer that trust and communication are key elements of not only basketball, but of successful lives.

Q: How proud are you of Massiah Merritt, Stephon Jennings, and Johnnie Green, who all received USCAA All-American honors?

A: Massiah, Stephon, and Johnnie have all been integral pieces to our puzzle the past few seasons, and it’s fantastic to see them get recognized on the grandest stage of them all. They are sensational student-athletes who work extremely hard, and sacrifice so much in order to keep this team winning games and championships. I couldn’t be happier for them.

Q: What is the most difficult thing about being tabbed “the team to beat?”

A: I feel the most difficult thing is that every team is at its best when it plays us, but I feel as though our guys are always up to the challenge of playing in any environment, and against any school. We have battled adversity and have come through because we kept our focus and believed in one another. We know there will be spirited opposing crowds at Penn State Fayette this week, but I know our guys won't get rattled. We're ready.