The search has begun.
Fresh off the resignation of former men’s basketball coach Ed DeChellis, Penn State athletic director Tim Curley has begun looking for a replacement.
In today’s edition of Morelli OnLion, we’ll take a look at some of the possible replacements for DeChellis.
A lot of names have been batted around since DeChellis stepped down a little over a week ago to take the head coaching job at Navy. We’ve heard the mention of a rival (Pitt’s Jamie Dixon), a coaching legend (former IU coach Bob Knight) and the unrealistic (Butler’s Brad Stephens).
But those names aren’t real candidates. Let’s take a look at some of the candidates being considered for the head coaching job at Penn State:
Ron Everhart – According to several media outlets, the Duquesne coach visited the University Park campus on Tuesday for an interview with Curley and Co. Everhart is 49 years old and has led the Dukes to an 83-74 record during his five seasons with Duquesne. In 2010-11, Duquesne was 19-13. The two teams met in December at Penn State with the Nittany Lions winning, 77-73.
In this writer’s opinion, Everhart would be the “safe” choice. You know exactly what you’re getting with Everhart – more of the same. It’s unlikely that the Nittany Lions’ fortunes would change much under Everhart. He’s hardly a masterful recruiter and his overall record with the Dukes (nine games above .500) speaks for itself.
As for Everhart’s track record, he has a 257-239 record in his 17 seasons as a head coach. In addition to his short stint with the Dukes, he’s coached at McNeese State and Northeastern. Everhart should get some credit for turning the Dukes around. They were coming off a 3-24 campaign when he arrived in Pittsburgh.
Jim Boylen – Boylen is a former Michigan State assistant and the current head coach at Utah. During his first season with the Utes, his squad won 18 games and went 7-9 in the Mountain West Conference. In his second season, the Utes captured a share of the Mountain West Conference championship and went on to win the Mountain West Conference. For their efforts, the Utes earned a fifth seed in the NCAA tournament, only to get bounced by No. 12 seeded Arizona in the first round.
If the choice is between Everhart or Boylen, I say go with Boylen. His resume is certainly more impressive than Everhart’s. Boylen’s time under Izzo has prepared him for the rigors of the Big Ten. He already knows how to recruit in the conference and he knows something about the competition.
And say what you what about the Mountain West, there are some talented teams there. While Boylen hasn’t put in a ton of time, two seasons in charge at Utah are more impressive than five seasons at Duquesne.
Pat Chambers – The Boston University coach is another possibility, according to ESPN.com. Chambers, of course, was an assistant at Villanova University before leaving to coach the Terriers. He’s been at BU for just two seasons, but guided the Terriers to the NCAA tournament. His Pennsylvania ties will help his cause, but coaching at BU is less impressive than coaching at Duquesne. Consider Chambers a long shot.
Rob Jeter – The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee coach has Big Ten ties as well, having assisted at Wisconsin. During his six seasons at Milwaukee, he has compiled a 101-89 overall record, 61-43 in the Horizon League. In 2011, Jeter was selected as the Horizon League Coach of the Year. His resume is impressive: During his first season, he guided his squad to the league title and an NCAA first-round victory. Is that enough to bring him to Happy Valley? Who knows?
Jeter is a Pittsburgh native, so the guy knows good hoops and he clearly knows how to win.
Some of the other names being mentioned include Tulsa’s Doug Wojcik, Bucknell coach Pat Flannery, Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins and Arizona State assistant Scott Pera.
You can cross off East Carolina coach Jeff Lebo and Drexel coach James Flint. They’ve withdrawn their names from the running.
Look for Curley to name a new head coach during the first week of June. With summer basketball camps coming to Happy Valley in the coming months, it’s critical that a new head coach is in place soon.
Here’s hoping they crack open the coffers to bring in a winner.
Chris Morelli is an award-winning writer/editor who lives in Centre County and covers Penn State athletics for gantdaily.com. He’s also a regular on “Sports Central,” which airs on ESPN Radio in Altoona and State College. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, be sure to check out Morelli OnLion on Facebook!