This just got to big to be a comment. Not that we need another post about this topic.
Where would you start? Fixing the program?
The way I see it, the program has two pretty significant problems. Honestly, I don’t know that either can be solved. They kind of blend together, so bear with me.
The Penn State Basketball team has always been a red headed step-child. However, it was a pretty cool kid when it was allowed to be itself. Itself being a pretty decent mid-major program playing out of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Think of it this way, take Butler out Hinkle Field House, put them in a Sterile Airplane Hanger that seats twice as many people as it needs too, run their coach out of town, put in them in the ACC, and 15 years later when they suck, tell me how you fix the problem?
Bruce Parkhill was a cool guy. He was tall, good looking, funny and in many ways like a politician. He remembered everybody’s name and made them feel like they were important. Guy’s like that get laid. A lot. But going back to the original point, Back in the 1990’s the team was alternative to the corporate monstrosity that was the football program. Coach Parkhill took three or four guys to the Nittany Lion Inn after every game to a cocktail reception for boosters. I remember one time, he hauled a kid who played for Vermont over there because he played such a good game. At the time it cost like $200 to be a booster.
Success, Jerry Dunn, the Big Ten and the Bryce Jordan Center stopped that reception, it’s not practical anymore, but that’s how this program, to the extent it was ever good, was built. The lights shine a little brighter in the Big Ten, and now maybe Coach Parkhill is a liability, so he “retires”. Jerry Dunn is not Bruce Parkhill and he rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. The switch the Jordan Center was handled horribly and that rubbed a lot people the wrong way. Also, the Jordan Center sucks, and that rubs a lot of people the wrong way.
So what happened? Something that a small number of people were very passionate about, was lost, and replaced by some other thing that a larger number of people are indifferent toward. How do you fix that?
You can’t quit the Big Ten, which has proved to be a terrible fit for the men’s basketball team. We can’t realistically get rid of the Jordan Center. While it’s often stated that Penn State has the resources, the simple fact is that no, really we don’t. We don’t have a legacy of 300 NBA players we can get to front us a new coach. We have to go to our boosters, who by and large don’t care (and who just gave at the office in the form of the STEP plan and PS we’ll be needing a football coach soon too) or are pissed off (and weren’t that kind of rich anyway, they were just people who lived in State College who needed something to do in the winter).
So we're a mid-major team, playing in a crappy building in the wrong conference. You think a Point Guard is going to solve all those problems? Nope, it will just make you forget about them until Navy steals your coach.
It’s sad to me, because I know a lot of really cool people who have played for and/or coached the team. I want them to have a program that they can be proud of, because they all gave a lot or time and effort in the process. But dude, I’m just not sure that there is anything to be done.