Mark Christner Named Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Waynesburg University
Friday, April 09, 2010
Longtime Calvin men’s basketball assistant coach Mark Christner has been named the head men’s basketball coach at Waynesburg University in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. A native of Big Rapids, Christner will take over the helm of a Waynesburg program that is an NCAA Division III institution and a member of the President’s Athletic Conference. Waynesburg is a private Christian University located south of Pittsburgh that was founded by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Calvin’s junior varsity men’s basketball coach the last eight years, Christner is the third assistant coach under current Calvin head men’s basketball coach Kevin Vande Streek to accept a head collegiate coaching post in men’s basketball. Other former Vande Streek assistants to have accepted head coaching jobs include Chris Fear at Dana College in 2000 and Tim Walker in 2002 at Trinity Christian College.
Fear is still currently the head men’s basketball coach at Dana College and the school’s Associate Director of Athletics. Walker recently accepted the head men’s basketball coaching job at Malone College after a successful tenure at Trinity Christian College. Walker recently concluded his first full year as head coach at Malone College.
“I am very excited for Mark and I think he will do an outstanding job as head men’s basketball coach at Waynesburg,” said Vande Streek. “Mark has all of the intangibles you look for in a head coach. Most importantly, he is a man of integrity and character and those principles will help him succeed in his new post.”
According to Vande Streek, Christner did everything a head coach must do during his time as an assistant with the Calvin men’s basketball program. “Mark did everything while he was an assistant coach for us,” said Vande Streek. “He put together practice plans, he recruited, he organized our tip-off tournament every year and served as our head junior varsity coach at the same time. On most days, he was at both the varsity and junior varsity practices. He committed an incredible amount of time and was very hands-on with everything he did with our program.”
Seeing Christner leave is also bittersweet said Vande Streek. “This is a wonderful new step for Mark but it is hard to see him go,” he said. “Mark has become a close friend and when a close friend leaves, there is some sadness but at the same time, I am very happy for him.”
Having another member of his coaching tree move into the head coaching ranks is also pleasing to Vande Streek. “I am really proud of the guys who have moved on to head coaching jobs,” said Vande Streek of Fear, Walker and Christner. “I think Calvin helped prepare all three of them to be a head coach. I also think having experience at Calvin College on their resume’s made them appealing to other institutions. There is no question that Calvin College carries a lot of positive notoriety, particularly when it comes to athletics.”
During his eight years (2002-2010) as an assistant menís coach and head menís junior varsity coach at Calvin, Christner helped lead the Knights to four berths in the NCAA Division III national tournament. During his time on the bench, Calvin posted an overall record of 158-73 and won three Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) regular season titles. Over that same stretch, the Knights won three MIAA tournament titles and advanced all the way to the NCAA Division III Final Four in 2005.
Prior to working with the menís team, Christner broke in as a coach at Calvin with the womenís basketball team from 1999 to 2002. In 2000, the Calvin women made it all the way to the NCAA Division III Sweet 16.
Christner earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1999 from Calvin, where he majored in history and minored in physical education with emphasis in coaching. While a student at Calvin, he was a three-year member of the Calvin men’s basketball program and served as a student assistant men’s basketball coach during his senior year. He later went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in physical education with a pedagogy emphasis in 2005 from Western Michigan.
He is also an experienced teacher. Christner was a Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, & Sport (HPERDS) instructor at Calvin from 2006 until he left the school, and was an adjunct instructor in the same program from 2004 to 2006. He also spent four years (2000-2004) as a social studies teacher at both the Creston Christian School and the Holy Spirit School in Grand Rapids.
Christner is married to 2000 Calvin College graduate Sara (Plasman) Christner. They are the parents of a son and daughter.