Obviously, the big news for the day is coming out of Columbus where Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel has resigned, but Penn State has a coaching search of its own to worry about right now, and today, we turn our attention to a man reportedly getting an interview for the job this week.
Ron Everhart has been a head coach since 1994 and has helped turned around programs at McNeese State, Northeastern and Duquesne. Today, we've enlisted the help of Steve Uhlmann, an Ohio University student and longtime Duquesne fan for some more perspective on Everhart. He blogs at Black and Gold (and Green and White) and also does some work on Duquesne basketball for SB Nation Pittsburgh. We did a Q and A with Steve on Everhart, and here's what he had to say. (Also, if you haven't yet, check out the first post in our coaching profile series on Jim Boylen).
1. What has worked for Ron Everhart during his time at Duquesne?
Everhart has the ability to rebuild teams in a short period of time. Duquesne was coming off a 3-25 season with only two players returning when Everhart was hired for the 2006-2007 season. The very next year, Duquesne had its first winning season since 1993-1994. Ron has led the team to four consecutive seasons of more than 15 wins, something the program hasn’t accomplished since 1967-1968 through 1972-1973.
Duquesne’s offense has also exploded during his tenure. Since Everhart took over, the Dukes have averaged 77.4 points per game. That scoring average ranks 17th nationally in that span.2. What has gone wrong during his tenure?
While Everhart’s teams have accomplished many things that haven’t been done in decades on the Bluff, he still has had many shortcomings. For example, his teams have notoriously fallen apart down the stretch. All-time at DU, Everhart is 64-38 (.616) in the months of November through January, but only 22-37 (.372) in the months of February and March. Certainly the non-conference helps the early win percentage, but after hot starts in Atlantic 10 play in January, the team usually fizzles late.
Duquesne also struggles winning close games. Last season the team was 2-9 in games decided by less than 10 points. While players win and lose close games, the coaching has to be at some of the fault with such mismanagement late in games. Though he has done wonderful jobs rebuilding at Mcneese State, Northeastern, and Duquesne, Everhart has still yet to lead a team to an NCAA tourney appearance. Other than Duquesne’s run to the A-10 championship in 2009, he hasn’t gotten past the first round of the conference tourney any other year.
3. What can you tell us about elements of his coaching style like defensive philosophy, tempo, etc.?
If Everhart were to go to Penn State, it would be a completely different style of play than what was seen under Ed DeChellis. Duquesne plays a very fast style of play that relies on a full-court press and transition offense. While effective at times, the frenzied tempo can lead to many easy baskets for the opponents. Duquesne rarely plays a half-court offense, even when ahead. I feel he would change his philosophy some at Penn State, since he would have easier access to size when recruiting.
4. Everhart has a some run-ins with the NCAA at Northeastern and Duquesne. What can you say about that?
At Northeastern, Everhart and his staff was penalized for improperly recruiting a Nigerian player, which involved contacting this prospect at times other than the ones spelled out in the rules. The team was given one year of probation but it did not take effect until after he had left.
At Duquesne last season, a student manager had sent basketball shoes to a junior college coach who runs a program for giving equipment to troops oversees. It is still against NCAA rules to send equipment to junior colleges. The program immediately reported the secondary violation (take note Jim Tressel) and no penalties were given.
5. Can you speak to Everhart's personality? Is he fiery or more laid back? Is he a player's coach or a disciplinarian?
This is a very hard thing to gauge. At times during games, he has shown fire on the bench toward his players, and at other times really seems to let the them do their thing without intervening. He has been known to run tight practices, however, and he isn’t afraid to bench and suspend players when they aren’t listening or following team rules.
6. What can you say about his recruiting tendencies? What does he do well and what are some things he could do better?
Ron likes to recruit athletic wingmen in the 6’4" to 6’7" range that can get up and down the floor and fit his run and gun style. This results in teams that are usually undersized, though he may have access to better recruits at a Big Ten school. He isn’t afraid to take on projects and attempt to develop them. Some (Damian Saunders, Bill Clark) have been successful, while others (Rodrigo Peggau, Mike Williams) have been failures. He could do a better job of retaining recruits. Every year it seems that two or three players transfer.
7. Any general thoughts on the coach?
With the shape Penn State is in, Ron could very well be the man to rebuild this broken program. It would be quite a jump from a mid-major to a power six conference, especially not having played competition like the Big Ten on a regular basis, which has me thinking it would take some time for him to get used to running a team at that level.