July 26, 2012
FORT WORTH—Chris Tifft has been named director of operations for the TCU men’s basketball program, head coach Trent Johnson announced Thursday. Tifft joins the Horned Frogs from the junior college ranks, where he served the last eight seasons as a head coach at New Mexico Junior College and Lamar (Colo.) Community College.
Tifft has 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.
“We are fortunate to be able to add an individual like Chris to our staff,” Johnson said. “He has experience in the process of building programs and did an excellent job in that regard in his two stops as a junior college head coach. Chris also is familiar with how we like to run our program since he and I have worked together in the past.”
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 theYear at Lamar, while he tutored eight all-conference honorees, one All-American and three Academic All-Americans. He also helped 17 players earn NCAA Division I scholarships as a head coach, 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 arrives 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 since the 1998 season. 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 fifth-place finish while posting a 28-10 overall mark.
Tifft received his first head coaching opportunity at Lamar after spending three seasons as anassistant 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 added his master’s in educational leadership in 1999. He and his wife, Heather, have one daughter, Kamryn.
ABOUT Chris Tifft
Birth Date: Feb. 4, 1973
Hometown: Macomb, Ill.
College: Nevada, 1996 (B.A. in geography); 1999 (M.E. in educational leadership)
College Coaching Experience
1996-2001: Nevada (Assistant Coach)
2001-04:Dodge City Community College (Assistant Coach)
2004-09:Lamar (Colo.) Community College (Head Coach)
2009-12: New Mexico Junior College (Head Coach)