Ed DeChellis Leaves Penn State to Coach Navy (Mens' B-ball)
When I was a kid, I was helping my father work at the polls on election day. One of the political parties was hosting a lunch for its big wigs at one of the nearby country clubs. And one of them asked me how to get to that country club. I was a kid, so I had no idea. An older man was standing by, and he said, "Well, to get to [country club x], you have get kicked out of [another nearby country club, one that was more prestigious]." I supposed you had to be there, but if you lived near me and knew the people, it was hilarious.
So, at first blush, you might ask yourself, why would a basketball coach leave the Big Ten for Navy, where it's tough to recruit and as tough to win?
Well. . . first you have to get kicked out of. . . you know the punchline.
But as this article explains, Penn State didn't kick Ed DeChellis out of the tent (they just didn't offer to pull him all that far back in). After all, he had led them to their first NCAA tournament game in ten years. That's a pretty tough feat at a football school that's very far away from any big city, but the powers that be in Happy Valley didn't offer DeChellis any extension on a contract that was due to expire in 2012. So, not feeling the love near Mount Nittany, DeChellis decided to go to a place that offers a different challenge and more job security. So, while he didn't get kicked out of Penn State, he didn't get asked to stay for the long term, either.
As Dana O'Neil points out in her article, Penn State won't have the easiest time to find a big-name head coach. The Nittany Lions lost three good players, including star Talor Battle, to graduation, and the job is a rebuilding effort. Also, the season for replacing coaches came and went, so to speak, and any coach coming in will have to coach someone else's recruits exclusively for a year.
That said, Division I jobs are scarce, so here are some thoughts for replacements for DeChellis:
1. Drexel's James "Bruiser" Flint. (Probably itchy at Drexel, good coach, good connections).
2. St. Joe's Phil Martelli (he's struggled recently on Hawk Hill, but he's a well-respected coach who might relish the challenge of the Big Ten).
3. Quinnipiac's Tom Moore (once a Jim Calhoun assistant, Moore has fared well in Hamden, CT and might relish a big-time challenge if he's not in line to succeed his mentor).
4. Richmond's Chris Mooney (unlikely, as Mooney just got a huge extension from the Spiders, but he's a native Pennsylvanian, and the Big Ten is a step up from the Atlantic 10).
5. Bucknell's Dave Paulsen (took the Bison to the NCAA Tournament, also had a great record in DIII before then, but he hasn't been at Bucknell for long).
6. Harvard's Tommy Amaker (a longshot, because it seems as though he was up for bigger jobs in the off-season. While Amaker has had mixed results as a head coach, he can recruit, and the Duke pedigree doesn't hurt. And, hey, if Maryland lured away Harvard's lax coach a year ago to lead the Terps back to the Final Four, anything is possible).
7. Duke assistant Chris Collins. He's been caddying for Coach K for a while, and if there's some good karma it's that his dad, Doug, is the head coach for the Philadelphia 76ers. Okay, so State College is four hours away from Philadelphia, and I might be digging here, but perhaps there's a shot.
8. Princeton coach Mitch Henderson (just kidding, as Henderson just got to Princeton, but had he been coaching there for four years, who knows, as Penn State just lured away Princeton's men's hockey coaches as they upgrade their program to the top end of DI).
So, that's my list. What do you think?