Former junior college head coach and one-time Johnson assistant at Nevada
Chris Tifft was promoted to assistant coach on Monday, June 16, following two seasons as director of operations for TCU after arriving in June 2012.
Tifft joined the Horned Frogs from the junior college ranks, where he served eight seasons as a head coach at New Mexico Junior College and Lamar (Colo.) Community College. He owns strong ties to Johnson, having served as an assistant coach on Johnson's Nevada staff during his first two seasons in Reno from 1999 through 2001.
Tifft aided in TCU's transition to the Big 12 Conference in his first year on campus in 2012-13, a season that saw the program record four wins over teams that advanced to postseason play. Included among the victories was the school's first-ever against a top-5 opponent, a 62-55 decision against No. 5 Kansas on Feb. 6.
Along with TCU's move to the Big 12 came an added importance of being able to sway top national recruits, a task Johnson's staff has embraced in its short time in Fort Worth. Tifft helped the Frogs land one of the top signing classes in school history featuring four nationally rated commits in prep products Brandon Parrish, Hudson Price, Karviar Shepherd and Michael Williams. The class, ranked 34th-best in the nation by ESPN, included one signee listed among the nation's top-50 players (Shepherd) and another among the top-150 (Parrish).
Tifft compiled a 158-94 overall in his eight seasons as a junior college head coach. Among his career honors was being named 2009 NJCAA District IX Coach of the Year at Lamar. He helped numerous players earn NCAA Division I scholarships, including four in his final season at NMJC in Dequan Hicks (Northwestern State), Alex Phillips (Nebraska-Omaha), Marvin Binney (Duquesne) and Ryan Okwudibonye (Sacramento State).
Tifft arrived at TCU from NMJC, where he led the Thurderbirds to a 58-32 record and improvements in each of his three seasons. The T-Birds tied for second place in the Western Junior College Athletic Conference in 2011-12 with a 23-9 record while reaching the semifinal round of the NJCAA Region V tournament. The conference finish was the program's best in nearly a decade. Tifft's first two NMJC squads posted respective records of 16-14 and 19-9 despite featuring a roster that included 15 new players in his inaugural campaign.
Prior to his time at NMJC, Tifft led Lamar to a 100-62 record in five seasons. During his tenure, the Runnin' Lopes posted three consecutive 20-win seasons for the first time since 1969, while he was named 2009 district coach of the year after leading the program to its first ever regional championship and NJCAA Tournament appearance. Lamar concluded the 2009 NJCAA tourney with a 3-1 record and No. 5 national ranking while finishing the season with a 28-10 overall mark.
Tifft received his first head coaching opportunity at Lamar after spending three seasons as an assistant coach at Dodge City Community College (2001-04). He transitioned to junior college following five seasons at Nevada, where he served on the staffs of both Pat Foster and Johnson.
Tifft began his collegiate playing career at Columbia University before transferring to Three Rivers (Mo.) Community College. While at Three Rivers, he had the opportunity to play for the most successful coach in the history of junior college basketball, Gene Bess. He completed his career at Nevada, playing two seasons (1994-96).
Tifft received his bachelor's degree in geography from Nevada in 1996, while he also earned his master's in secondary education in 1999. He and his wife, Heather, have one daughter, Kamryn.