After Penn State Men’s Basketball Coach Ed DeChellis took the head coaching position at Navy, the athletic department was forced to begin the search for his replacement. Multiple names emerged as possible candidates for the position, including former college and professional basketball coach Larry Brown, but as the week has progressed, the list has been narrowed to a few names. Athletic Director Tim Curley has stated that a decision will be made “very soon,” but in the mean time, here are a few of the top candidates that may be leading Penn State next season.
Pat Chambers: The current Head Coach at Boston University. In his second year as Head Coach, Pat Chambers led the Terriers to a victory over Stony Brook in the America East Championship last season, clinching a spot in the NCAA tournament. He posted two 20 win seasons and a 42-28 record in his first two years with the program. The team rattled 11 wins in a row before falling to a much superior Kansas team in its first round match-up in the NCAA tournament. Before coaching at Boston University, Chambers was an assistant under Jay Wright at Villanova University. Chambers played a key role in recruiting talented players to the prestigious Villanova program and Jay Wright has extended his gratitude to his former assistant. Despite his success, Chambers has only been a head coach for a brief time at a mid-major level. Most notably, he just signed an extension that makes him the coach at Boston University until the 2015-16 season.
Jim Boylen: Former head coach at Utah. Boylen was fired after the Utah Utes posted a 13-18 record last season, losing eight of their last 11 games. He posted a respectable 69-60 record in four seasons, but a 32-32 record in the Mountain West and had only one NCAA tournament appearance after winning the conference tournament in 2009. Boylen has coached in the Big Ten, on two separate occasions, as an assistant at Michigan State, and his most recent stint was with Tom Izzo from 2005-2007. Boylen was also an assistant coach in the NBA with the Rockets, Warriors, and Bucks from 1992-2o05. Big men have been strong defensively when playing under Boylen at both the professional and the college level. In the NBA, Boylen worked with Yao Ming and, in college, he had two players earn the title of Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.
Ron Everhart: Current Head Coach at Duquesne Univeristy. Ron Everhart has made significant progress with a program that was severely struggling. The Duquesne Dukes won only three games in 2005-2006, but went on to win at least 15 games in four of the next five seasons. Everhart’s only losing season came in his first year with the team. In 2009, Duquesne went 21-13 and went to the NIT. This past season, the team posted a 19-13 record (and a 10-6 record in the Atlantic Ten), but also lost to Penn State. Before coaching at Duquesne, Everhart coached at Northeastern and McNeese State. Everhart enjoys coaching up-tempo teams, utilizing many players off the bench and running the full court press. At Duquense, this run-and-gun style helped Everhart’s undersized players get wins against talented A-10 opponents such as Temple and Xavier.
Looking at this list of candidates, I would argue that Pat Chambers may be the most beneficial to the program. While he does not have a great deal of head coaching experience, he has been successful in his two years at Boston University and already took a team to the NCAA Tournament. As an assistant at Villanova, he worked under one of the best coaches in the country in Jay Wright. While learning from Jay Wright, Pat also established recruiting ties in the Philadelphia area and Penn State could certainly benefit from the talent in this area. The most concerning issue is the contract he signed with Boston University in the beginning of May. However, this contract was signed before Ed DeChellis left Penn State. While Penn State is not a basketball powerhouse, Chambers could take this opportunity to build a successful team in a strong basketball conference, the Big Ten. Either way, Penn State needs a new perspective to spark the team next season and when the athletic department makes a decision, we will have our take here on Bob Long Sports.