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CNU Head Coach John Krikorian - "Coach K"


JOHN KRIKORIAN was named men's basketball coach at Christopher Newport on June 14, 2010. He is just the fourth head coach in the program's 53-year history, and has led the Captains to amazing success, including its first two Final Four appearances.  His squad advanced to the 2015-2016 Final Four in Salem, Va., as well as the 2018-2019 Final Four in Fort Wayne, IN.

Krikorian has been able to continue the program’s remarkable history since taking over from longtime coach and Athletic Director C.J. Woollum, who led the program for 26 seasons. He has now guided the Captains to the NCAA Tournament a total of six times, including the last four seasons. His overall record at CNU is 210-53 (.798) through his first nine seasons at the helm.

Krikorian has been named the Capital Athletic Conference’s Coach of the Year the last four years, and led his team to a perfect regular-season mark (18-0) in the league in 2015-2016. His squads have also finished with a 17-1 mark in the CAC in 2016-2017, a 14-4 record in 2017-2018, and a 12-2 CAC mark this past season. Krikorian’s teams at CNU have won at least 18 games per season, and have advanced to the Capital Athletic Conference Championship game every year since joining the league six seasons ago.

The Captains posted a 29-4 record in 2018-2019, winning both the CAC regular and post-season titles. CNU won four games in the NCAA Tournament, two at the Freeman Center and then two more in a sectional in Clinton, NY., where they ousted NESCAC programs, Hamilton and Williams, on back-to-back nights to reach the Final Four.

The 2017-2018 campaign ended with a 22-7 overall record and the Captains captured the Capital Athletic Conference's regular-season title. CNU advanced to the NCAA's and posted an opening-round victory before being knocked out in the second round at the Freeman Center.

CNU finished the 2016-2017 campaign with a 27-3 mark and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA’s. Krikorian’s 2015-2016 squad finished with a 30-2 record, setting the new school all-time single season win mark, and advancing to the Final Four for the first time ever.

The Captains finished 20-8 in 2014-15 and Krikorian won his 100th game on the CNU sideline in a road win at Penn State Harrisburg. He led the Captains to a 19-9 record in 2013-2014. Krikorian’s squads won the USA South regular-season and tournament championships the last two years of membership, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons.

Christopher Newport was 22-6 in 2013-14 and defeated Rutgers-Newark in the NCAA Tournament for the first post-season win at CNU since 2001. The Captains finished 23-5 overall and 12-0 in the USA South in 2011-12 under Krikorian, going to the NCAA Tournament in just his second season at the helm. He was honored as the USA South Coach of the Year.

Krikorian, who enjoyed a very successful four-year stint at the United States Merchant Marine Academy,  stepped in and quickly made his mark at CNU. The Captains almost immediately took on many of the characteristics of their new head coach. They worked hard, played a scrappy style, and soon started winning plenty of games.

In Krikorian’s first year at CNU in 2010-2011, the Captains finished 18-9 overall and 9-3 in the USA South Athletic Conference. A native of Auburn, Massachusetts, “Coach K” compiled a record of 65-42 (.607) at the Merchant Marine Academy, and led the squad to a 24-5 record his last season there in 2009-2010. The Mariners won the Landmark Conference regular-season and post-season championships that year and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. He was named the 2010 Landmark Conference Coach of the Year.

During his tenure at the Merchant Marine Academy, Krikorian transformed the program and put particular focus on defense. He improved one of the lowest-rated scoring defenses in the nation to the #4 scoring defense in the country in his last season. His squads showed steady improvement, especially in conference play, as the Mariners went 10-4 and 12-2 the last two seasons in the Landmark Conference.   

Krikorian’s journey to CNU began with a passion for basketball from an early age, and a tremendous work ethic on the court as an athlete and in the classroom as a student. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering in 1996 from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played on the junior varsity basketball team coached by Steve Donahue, who later became head coach at Boston College after years of success at Cornell.

Krikorian played as a sophomore and junior on the Penn JV squad, and then became a student assistant at Penn during his senior season, his first taste of coaching hoops. Following his college days, Krikorian spent two years in the business world working for Princeton Consultants, an information management company in Princeton, New Jersey.  In 1998, Krikorian returned to his passion and accepted the position of graduate assistant basketball coach at West Virginia Wesleyan College. What followed was a steady climb up the ladder of the college coaching ranks.

After one season at West Virginia Wesleyan, “Coach K” made his first stop at the Merchant Marine Academy as an assistant coach under Billy Lange during the 1999-2000 season. After a season there, he returned to his alma mater for two seasons, working as an assistant at Penn under Fran Dunphy. There he would be a part of one of the nation’s biggest turnarounds as the Quakers won 25 games in 2001.

Krikorian then accepted an assistant position at another Division I program, Lafayette College in Easton, PA.  There he assisted Fran O’Hanlon from 2002-2004.  His journey then took him to Annapolis, MD, where he spent two years as an assistant at the United States Naval Academy (2004-2006)…re-uniting with head coach Billy Lange. His time at Navy came to an end when he was named the head coach at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 2006, beginning his head coaching career with an amazing four-year transformation of the Mariners.

Krikorian’s coaching resume now includes six seasons as an NCAA Division I assistant and 13 as a Division III head coach. His overall head coaching record is 275-95 (.743) through the the 2018-2019 campaign. Krikorian and his wife, Emily, reside in Newport News with their three children...daughters, Lillian Grace and Katherine Rose ...and son, Jack.