Boatner named assistant at Mount St. Mary’s #iubb

Last week, Julian Boatner rented a car for the first time.

Yes, the Bloomington native is growing up.

Boatner, 24, recently landed his first job, too, accepting an assistant coaching position at Mount St. Mary’s, where he’s expected to be one of the youngest full-time Division I assistants in the nation.

After playing four years at William and Mary, Boatner spent the last two seasons as a graduate manager on coach Tom Crean’s staff at Indiana. Now, he’s ready to begin his professional career and accept all the responsibilities that come with it.

“There’s nothing more that I’d want to do than be a college coach at my age,” Boatner said. “I jumped at the opportunity.”

It’s a good gig on a similarly young staff. In addition to Boatner, Mount coach Jamion Christian also hired up-and-comers Will Holland and Graham Bousley, both of whom are also in the beginning stages of their careers.

Boatner, a former Indiana All-Star at Bloomington North, made the necessary connections to get to this point.

He went to the Final Four in Houston this spring looking to network and find a job. At one point, he reached out to Christian, who was an assistant at William and Mary during Boatner’s freshman year.

“He called me probably two or three weeks after the Final Four, just checking in to see what I had going on,” Boatner said. “I told him I didn’t really have anything serious, so he asked if I’d be interested in working at The Mount and interviewing. I said, ‘Yeah, of course.'”

Boatner credits Crean, too, for preparing him for the job and giving Christian an honest recommendation.

“I’m really thankful to coach Christian for giving me an opportunity,” Boatner said. “I know coach Crean was a vital part in this whole thing because they’re really close. Coach Crean told coach Christian my pros and cons and I think he was honest with him. I don’t think he tried to blow me up or anything because that’s not what coach Crean does. I know he was a vital cog in this whole thing coming together.”

To some length, Boatner’s age can be asset.

As someone who’s only a couple years removed from his playing days — Boatner graduated having played the fourth-most games (124) in William and Mary history — he’s relatable to recruits and players.

Then there’s his experience in a Big Ten program. During his two seasons at Indiana, Boatner said he gained an appreciation for the work ethic and attention to detail shown by Crean and his assistants.

Those are qualities that will serve Boatner well at The Mount.

“I’ve always been impressed with his knowledge of the game, his unselfishness as a person and his ability to connect with players,” Christian said in a statement. “His time spent in one of the most elite programs in the country and under one of the guys (Crean) I respect the most in this business makes him a perfect fit for our program. I believe his playing experience and understanding of how to develop players will really impact our guards right away.”

It’s already been a busy summer for Boatner, who’s been active during the first two July evaluation periods, traveling the country — and hammering the Eastern seaboard, especially — watching potential recruits.

Hence the need for a fresh set of wheels.

Mount St. Mary’s, located in Emmitsburg, Md., is a private school with a total enrollment of approximately 2,300 students. The Mountaineers compete in the Northeast Conference and won the league tournament two years ago to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to Albany in the First Four.

They finished 14-19 last season and lost to Fairleigh Dickinson in the NEC Tournament semifinals.

“The goal is to win the league every year,” Boatner said. “I think we have the players to do that. We have really good guards. … We just have to make sure we’re working toward that every day and make sure we’re improving every day.”