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DWU's Christensen reaches milestone with 100th win

SIOUX CITY, Iowa -- Wednesday was a historic day for Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball coach Jason Christensen. The Mitchell native and sixth-year head coach of the Tigers became the second coach in program history to win a game at th...

Dakota Wesleyan Head Coach Jason Christensen and the Tiger bench celebrate a basket during the first round of the NAIA Division II women's national tournament on Wednesday morning at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. (Matt Gade/Republic)
Dakota Wesleyan Head Coach Jason Christensen and the Tiger bench celebrate a basket during the first round of the NAIA Division II women's national tournament on Wednesday morning at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa. (Matt Gade/Republic)

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Wednesday was a historic day for Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball coach Jason Christensen.

The Mitchell native and sixth-year head coach of the Tigers became the second coach in program history to win a game at the NAIA Division II national tournament and reached a coaching milestone in the process.

DWU picked up its 26th win of the season, which pushed Christensen's career wins mark to 100. Christensen was unaware of the milestone until he was informed of the news after the game.

"It's been a fun ride," said Christensen after his team's 75-64 first-round win over Haskell Indian Nations University in Sioux City, Iowa. "That's pretty special. I grew up watching Wesleyan basketball when I was 8 years old. This is my dream job."

Christensen entered the 2015-16 season with a career record of 74-81 through five seasons. Now, he finds himself second all-time in school wins, trailing only Kevin Lein, who finished coaching with a 113-84 record in six years (1998-2004).

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"It's a great thing for him," said DWU graduate assistant coach Celeste Beck. "He's a passionate coach, and a very good coach, so he deserves it."

Ironically, the 100th win for Christensen came in his self-proclaimed "biggest game of my life" at the season's biggest stage.

"The town of Mitchell is special to me," Christensen said. "Getting the 100th win is a real special thing for me and a special thing for the kids. They're the ones that got to 100 wins."

For Beck, who played four years under Christensen, the timing of the milestone showed how far the former Mount Vernon girls basketball head coach had taken the program from its 6-25 mark in his first season in 2010-11.

"He totally turned this program around," Beck said. "It's cool how he turned the program around and got his 100th win in the national tournament."

Not only were the Tigers picked to finish eighth in the Great Plains Athletic Conference in the conference's preseason coaches' poll, but Christensen had yet to win a postseason game with DWU before this season. After crossing his first GPAC tournament win, first national tournament win and now his 100th career win, the focus turns to win No. 101. The Tigers face second-seeded Davenport (Mich.) at 8:30 a.m. on Friday in Sioux City, Iowa.

"You guys are gonna make me cry," he said. "It's fun. I guess I'll have to sit down and think about about it, but it's awesome."

Related Topics: DAKOTA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
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