Jim Engles stresses continuity in his introduction as Columbia’s new head coach

 

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Columbia Athletic Director Peter Pilling (left) and Jim Engles share responsibility for the future of Columbia basketball now, in addition to an actual basketball. (Ian Wenik)

NEW YORK — Jim Engles is a unicorn amongst college coaches.

He’s not much of a screamer during games.

He’s never too up or too down in press conferences (just watch the presser after the biggest win of his career, NJIT’s 72-70 win over Michigan in 2014, for proof).

Rarest of all, Engles has never had to move out of the tri-state area during his career, enabling his children to grow up in one home.

That kind of stability is what the Columbia basketball program desperately needs as it enters a period of tremendous transition. Maodo Lo, Alex Rosenberg, Grant Mullins and Isaac Cohen will all be gone, which means that Engles will be forced to replace roughly half of the team’s regular rotation (and its best player) right out of the gate. Oh, and there’s that newfangled conference tournament thing starting next year, too.

Read moreJim Engles stresses continuity in his introduction as Columbia’s new head coach

Jim Engles hired as Columbia’s new coach

Jim Engles comes back to Columbia to helm the program after five years as an assistant there from 2003-08.  (USA Today Sports)
Jim Engles comes back to Columbia to helm the program after five years as an assistant there from 2003-08. (USA Today Sports)

Jim Engles was announced as Columbia’s new head coach Sunday by Columbia Athletics, succeeding Kyle Smith in the position. Engles previously served as an assistant coach from 2003-08 under then-head coach Joe Jones and compiled a 100-88 record in eight seasons as head coach at NJIT, which had only competed for two years in Division I prior to Engles’ taking over.

Engles led the Highlanders to the CIT semifinals each of the past two seasons, including an 80-65 loss to Columbia in the semifinals at Levien Gym in his final game as NJIT’s coach as the Lions went on to win the CIT championship.

Engles is a 1990 graduate of Dickinson College. As Columbia Athletics notes, his uncle John was a high school All-American who went on to play at Penn under Chuck Daly from 1973-76. Engles served as an assistant at Rider from 1997-2003 and at Wagner from 1990-97.