The news of Ed DeChellis' decision to leave Penn State for the United States Naval Academy Monday was surprising and even shocking on some levels for longtime followers of the program. As many across the sphere have written in the hours since the announcement, however, there was plenty of writing on the wall to suggest the coach might want to make a move.
We'll start with this blog post from ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil, a Penn State alumnus and former Daily Collegian staffer. The entire piece is a great read, so I highly encourage clicking over for the whole piece. Here is a wallop of an excerpt, though.
If there is an equivalent spin on the coaching carousel, I haven’t thought of it. Why? Because it doesn’t happen. Coaches don’t voluntarily leave major conference jobs for low-major spots.
That DeChellis, a Penn State graduate, defied convention screams loud and clear as to just how bad things are at Penn State.
For years the basketball team has been a little sister of the poor stepchild to football, a winter afterthought given all the tending and care of a vegetable garden positioned in the middle of a nuclear field. Administrative support waffles between tepid applause and casual indifference.
The dirty little truth is, whether the team is good or bad, the university profits thanks to the hefty paycheck doled out by the Big Ten Network. And so the university pays little attention to and cares less about the program.
David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News, who broke the news of DeChellis' decision to leave, similarly has harsh criticism of administration in his piece on the matter titled "Ed DeChellis left for Navy because Penn State didn't care."
I am not going to pretend I would not have fired DeChellis three or four years ago had I been in Tim Curley's position. I would have.
But way before that time had arrived, I would have treated him and his program as if I cared. That means a much higher salary and much higher expectations. It means a budget that allows for a level playing field in recruiting. It means an arena or adjacent practice gym always available for the team and not rented out to a dinosaur hair band during the season's stretch run. It means an atmosphere where support personnel either exude excellence or are herded out of the way.
Nothing about president Graham Spanier's or athletics director Tim Curley's treatment of DeChellis' program cultivated such an aura. When it comes to men's basketball, they were and always have been a couple of shameless slumlords.
Nate Bauer of BlueWhiteIllustrated.com, who in February wrote about the practice conditions Penn State faced at the IM Building while Bon Jovi used the Bryce Jordan Center as a practice space, today comments on DeChellis' expressed reasons for leaving, namely, coaching at Navy because he recognizes it as a "civic duty."
Many won't understand or care to empathize with DeChellis' stance. Yet, coming from a man who has repeatedly demonstrated his dedication to the ideals of morals, values, ethics, hard work, and determination, the move makes perfect sense.
No longer will he have to concern himself with an administration and athletic department that was apathetic, at best, to the needs of the program.
No longer will he have to subject himself or his family to a year-by-year skewering of fans and media and the hardships that come with unstable job security.
No longer will he have to attempt to keep up with the elite powers of the Big Ten in recruiting while trying to maintain his sense of values.
Cory Giger of the Altoona Mirror thinks the move could be a home run for Penn State fans.
The ironic thing is that now, Penn State fans actually have had the best of both worlds.
An overwhelming majority of supporters have been calling for DeChellis' ouster for years, and they had to be disappointed thinking that the NCAA berth would save the coach's job.
As it turned out, fans got to see the program reach the NCAAs plus have DeChellis leave. That's the ultimate best-case scenario for many fans.
Outsiders are also commenting on Penn State's situation and some are really letting the school have it.
The irony at Penn State is that if the school cared about basketball, it would have fired DeChellis long before he had a chance to jilt it.
DeChellis gets new start. Has to be major pay cut. PSU is not Maryland. I'd be stunned if a power-six coach leaves a good job for PSU.
Then, of course, there's the venerable Dick Vitale, who's tweets get progressively more interesting.
Ed DeChellis leaving PSU is not big hoops news as the job is soooo tough - roundball game just something to do until football!
Come on PennSt put 2 icons together Wow Joe Pa & Robert Montgomery Knight!He can create some Hoops interest! Hire energetic young staff!
PENN ST HIRE BOB KNIGHT NOW!
We'll get into potential DeChellis replacements later on, but I felt the need to include Dickie V's reaction now simply because, well, I never in my wildest dreams imagined those words coming out of that man's Internet mouth.
Anyway, there you have it. A wide range of opinions and a lot of things to think about as Penn State moves forward this process.