Jamie Christian, one of the top special teams coordinators and receivers coaches in the nation with an award-winning recruiting background, enters his third season at Houston.
In 2013, Christian's special teams earned three honors from The American Athletic Conference as freshman Demarcus Ayers was named the league's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year and was named to The American's first team while Richie Leone was named to The American's second team.
Ayers led The American with an average of 27.6 yards per kick return, a number that ranked 12th nationally. Leone was named a Ray Guy Award semifinalist and ranked third nationally with an average of 46.6 percent of his punts placed inside his opponents' 20-yard line. Houston led The American Athletic Conference in net punting (41.4) and kickoff returns (25.3) while ranking second in kickoff coverage with a net average of 41.2. The special teams unit had two touchdowns on the year behind an Ayers' 95-yard kick return and Brandon Wilson returning a blocked field goal 78 yards for a score.
Christian's other unit, inside receivers, received postseason accolades in 2013 as well. Sophomore Deontay Greenberry was named to The American's first team as he led the league with an average of 100.2 receiving yards per game and was second with 11 receiving touchdowns. Greenberry was second in The American with five 100-yard games while junior Daniel Spencer was third with four.
In part due to strong recruiting ties in California, Houston and Louisiana, Christian was named to Rivals' top national recruiters list in 2013.
Under Christian's special teams guidance in 2012, Leone earned All-Conference USA honors as he tied the Houston single-season punting record with an average of 45.5 yards per punt. Senior kicker Matt Hogan ended his career with the Conference USA career scoring record with 405 points and set a Conference USA and school record with six field goals against UAB. At receiver, Christian helped tutor Greenberry and Larry McDuffey, both members of the Conference USA All-Freshman team.
The Milpitas, Calif., native came to Houston after five seasons at Arizona State, where he directed the Sun Devils' special teams and coached both the running backs and inside receivers/tight ends.
Highly respected for his work with the ASU kicking game, Christian mentored the 2007 Lou Groza Award winner, Thomas Weber. Weber led the Pac-10 in field goals and field goal accuracy, making 24-of-25 tries.
The Sun Devils had the nation's most-potent kick return game in 2011, ranking No. 5 nationally in punt returns (15.3) and No. 10 in kick returns (25.1). ASU had four total kick returns for a score, including three on kickoffs and one via the punt return unit. Jamal Miles had three of those returns (tied for the national lead), returning a kickoff 98 yards in the season-opening win against UC Davis and another 95 yards to open the game at Washington State. His third return, a 78-yard punt return for score against Oregon State, helped him average a gaudy 16.6 yards per punt return this season. That would have led the country with enough attempts. His 26.3 yards per kickoff return ranked No. 18 nationally.
Christian tutored ASU's Gerell Robinson, one of college football's top pass-catchers in 2011, making 77 receptions for 1,397 yards and seven scores. His 1,397 yards ranked No. 6 nationally, while his 18.1 yards per catch ranked No. 12.
A second returner, Rashad Ross, raced 98 yards vs. Boise State on a kickoff in the 2011 Maaco Las Vegas Bowl, pushing that Sun Devil season return total (both kickoff and punt return scores) to four.
In 2010 he directed the kickoff return unit to a No. 2 ranking nationally. The ASU return game averaged 27.5 yards per return, tops in the Pac-10. Three different ASU kick returners took kickoffs back for touchdowns that year, including Omar Bolden who averaged 29.2 yards per return and LeQuan Lewis who logged 28.5 yards per attempt.
Defensively his teams were equally effective, highlighted by the 2009 campaign when ASU ranked among the nation's best, allowing opponents just 18.8 yards per kickoff return.
Prior to his time at Arizona State Christian spent five seasons with Dennis Erickson at the University of Idaho (2006), the San Francisco 49ers (2003, 2004) and at Oregon State University (2000, 2001). Christian has also coached at Northern Arizona University (2002) and at Sacramento State University (2005).
While at Idaho, Christian tutored a pair of 500-yard runners in Brian Flowers (561 yards) and Jayson Bird (506), who also combined for 11 rushing touchdowns.
A former student-athlete, Christian began his playing career as a fullback at Fresno State before transferring to Central Washington. Christian switched to running back and was CWU's leader in rushing yards and touchdowns as a senior and helped lead the Wildcats to the 1995 NAIA National Championship.
Demarcus Ayers (Houston)
2013 The American's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year;
2013 The American First Team
Deontay Greenberry (Houston)
2013 The American First Team;
2012 Conference USA All-Freshman
Richie Leone (Houston)
2012 All-Conference USA;
2013 The American Second Team
Larry McDuffey (Houston)
2012 Conference USA All-Freshman
Thomas Weber (Arizona State)
2007 Lou Groza Award Winner
Gerell Robinson (Arizona State), Broncos
Rashad Ross (Arizona State), Chiefs
Kerry Taylor (Arizona State), Jaguars
Kyle Williams (Arizona State), Chiefs