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Men's Basketball

Henson announces new UTSA men's basketball staff hires

SAN ANTONIO – UTSA men's basketball head coach Steve Henson announced on Monday, June 26, the hiring of two new staff members to support the Roadrunners as they head into the 2023-24 season and the program's first year in the American Athletic Conference. Coming from across San Antonio at UIW, Chris Artis is the new director of operations, while former player J.R. Harris is returning to campus as the team's video coordinator.
Chris Artis – Director of Operations
"Chris is a terrific addition to our program," Henson said. "He will oversee all our program operations, will be heavily involved in the X's and O's and skill development and assist on the court. He played collegiately and overseas as a professional, and is also an experienced coach. Chris is a high-character man, and I'm very confident he will be a terrific mentor for our players and have a big impact on our program."
Bringing UTSA an extensive basketball history as a player in the collegiate and professional ranks, and as a high school, post-graduate and college coach, Chris Artis joins the Roadrunners after four seasons at Incarnate Word. After starting as the Cardinals' director of basketball operations in April 2019, he moved into an assistant coach role after only one season. Making an early impact, Artis helped UIW improve its conference win total by five victories in his first season, assisting the Cardinals in reaching their highest win total in seven years during the 2022-23 campaign.
"I am excited to join the Roadrunner family," Artis said. "I appreciate Coach Henson for the opportunity to work with this great staff that I've watched work over the last four years. I look forward to working with the staff, the team and the athletic department to push the program forward and bring this team success."
Artis came to UIW from Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana, marking his second stint with the program. From 2015-19, Artis served as the associate head coach for the Crimson Wave, assisting the team in reaching new heights, as the 2016-17 team earned its second Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) regular-season title and its first NAIA Division II tournament bid. During the 2018-19 campaign, Calumet started with a 12-0 record, earning its highest national ranking at 20th during the campaign.
Prior to his second stretch at Calumet, Artis was promoted to head high school boys basketball coach at Don Bosco Institute in Crown Point, Indiana in 2014-15, after starting as the post-graduate associate head coach in the 2013-14 season when the school was Midwest Elite Preparatory High School. In Artis' two-year stretch, the program sent nine players to NCAA Division I programs and two more to Division II schools.
Artis' first collegiate coaching role was at Calumet, where he served nine seasons as an assistant coach (2004-13). During his third season with the Crimson Wave, Artis helped coach the 2006-07 squad to a 21-7 record, its first CCAC Championship and a No. 26 NAIA Division II ranking. That team produced numerous all-conference players, including Wilfredo Escobar, who later earned All-America honorable mention (2010-11).

Artis enjoyed a noteworthy career as an NCAA DI player at Valparaiso, helping lead the 1995-96 Valpo squad to its first Mid-Continent Conference regular season championship, MCC tournament championship and its first NCAA tournament appearance. As a senior team captain, Artis earned All-Mid-Continent Conference honors, after leading the Crusaders to repeat on both titles and return to the NCAA tournament. After college, his career led him to professional playing opportunities in Australia, Norway, France, and Uruguay.
J.R. Harris – Video Coordinator
"It is truly special to bring back former players into the program," Henson said. "J.R. was an excellent leader for this program when he played, and he will take charge of all our video responsibilities and be a great asset for our players."
Taking over video coordinator duties for the UTSA program, Harris was among the first Roadrunners to play under Henson; his senior season coinciding with Henson's first at the helm. Harris returns to San Antonio after spending the 2022-23 school year as the head boys basketball coach at Istrouma High School in his hometown of Baton Rouge, La.
"I'm grateful and thankful of Coach Henson for the opportunity to return to my alma mater as video coordinator and skill development," Harris said. "I'm 100 percent committed to the program and to helping the Roadrunners achieve success in any way I can."
Following his playing career, Harris returned home to teach and work in athletic administration at Inspire Academy. Leaning on an extensive basketball career, Harris transitioned his gifts and experience to the coaching world, serving as the assistant coach at Hillsboro, Texas-based Hill College during the 2021-22 season. Harris helped the team achieve a 21-10 regular season record and 9-5 in conference before taking over a dream opportunity to lead the Istrouma Indians.
After starring at Baton Rouge's Southern University Lab School as a District MVP, All-Metro, All-District and All-State player, Harris played two seasons at Iowa-based Indian Hills Community College where he won back-to-back Region 11 regular season and tournament titles before coming to UTSA. Although an injury cut his senior season and career short, Harris played 31 games as a junior, recording 19 consecutive starts to close out the season and rank third on the team with 11.9 ppg – scoring in double figures 19 times. He hit at least five three-pointers in five contests and knocked down 66 from long range that season.
Both staff members will also play roles within coaching the squad. The NCAA Division I Council approved a new rule in January that allows non-coaching staff members with sport-specific responsibilities to engage in on-court coaching duties in men's basketball.

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