Penn State athletic director Tim Curley says the Nittany Lions could have a new coach "very soon," and Boston University coach Patrick Chambers has been one of the names thrown around from the very start. Today, in the third installment of our coaching profile series, we take a deeper look at the soon-to-be third-year coach. Check out our pieces on Jim Boylen and Ron Everhart here and here.
Chambers has posted back-to-back 21-14 seasons with the Terriers in his first two years and took BU to the NCAA Tournament as a 16-seed this past season. He spent time as an assistant with Jay Wright at Villanova and has a lot of Philadelphia recruiting connections. Today, Anthony from Sports of Boston answers some questions about the coach and how he operates.
What has worked for Chambers during his time at Boston?
I believe that his positive attitude, determination to win, willingness to improve, and also patience has helped Coach Chambers through both seasons as head basketball coach. Boston University has not been blessed with the best basketball talent these past couple of years, but Coach has done an admirable job with what he has been given. He had to overcome many challenges that most other schools don't face, such as the laundry list of injuries to key players that has plagued BU over the years (Tyler Morris
, Scott Brittain
last year) and (Jake O'Brien this year). Also, before the magical run by the Terriers this year, BU did a sub-par job in promoting the sport. Hockey is and has been the pride and joy of Commonwealth Ave, and many students had "given up" faith in the basketball program. The team also has to split home courts between two separate gyms, Case and Agganis Arena. He also never backs down to challenges, as he has placed BU to compete in several tough pre-season tournaments (Puerto Rico Tip Off and NIT Invitational).
What has gone wrong during his tenure?
Injuries with the team. I don't recall a program that has been hampered by injuries as bad as the Terriers have faced. Last year, Scott Brittain is forced to retire because he had exceeded the amount of concussions a player should have in their college years, and Tyler Morris breaks his hand in practice. This year, the Terriers lose Jake O'Brien, a perennial power forward, midway through the season, and John Holland
sprains his right ankle during the America East Tourney and also during practice before the NCAA's. These were major setbacks that Coach had to face.
What can you tell us about elements of his coaching style like defensive philosophy, tempo, etc.?
Defense and defense. Taking care of the ball. Rebounding. These were the topics that Coach has stressed during his short tenure. He has also been known to say after games "winning is easier you just make shots". BU has also been known as an up-tempo team these past two years, hoisting up close to 800 three pointers per year (not to Chambers' liking) but they have played their best when scoring in transition on the fast break.
Can you speak to Chambers' personality? Is he fiery or more laid back? Is he a player's coach or a disciplinarian?
From what I know, Coach has been known to be fiery at times, especially when the moment is right. During the NCAA tournament game against Kansas, spectators could see the will and drive to win in his eyes, even though he knew that BU was very outmatched by Kansas. Also, he has always been a supportive leader, always encouraging his players to improve and keep working to get better.
What can you say about his recruiting tendencies? What does he do well and what are some things he could do better?
I have been pleased with his recruiting tendencies. As a small tier school, it is almost impossible to get highly touted recruits to come to your program. Last year, Coach had brought over three transfers and also three freshman recruits that definitely made contributions to the success of the Terriers. He recruited DJ Irving and Dom Morris
, two under the radar Philly and Delaware prospects that have made large strides out of high school. This year, he has brought on several more recruits from the New England area, and we should keep an eye out for James Kennedy. If I had one complaint, I would wish that Coach Chambers would recruit from the midwest or even west coast. I know players are reluctant to travel across country and play for BU, but I feel that this would attract more talent in the future, if you diversified your teams' geographic location.
Could you talk about his recruiting ties to Philadelphia? What contributions have they made to Boston's cause so far?
DJ Irving & Dom Morris have already been significant assets to the BU squad. Travis Robinson
is a high-flying athletic player that will have his name heard more and more over the next three years. BU also picked up several transfers, including Daryl Partin from La Salle. Alongside Jake O'Brien, Partin could be one of the best players in the America East next year. Coach is from the Philly area and has great knowledge with the schools and teams located there.
Do you think he has the necessary experience to coach in a Power Six team?
Being under the tutelage of Jay Wright at Villanova, I believe Pat Chambers has the skill and experience to be the leader of a program in the Big Ten conference. He showed that he could mold a young and unproven BU team together and lead them into the NCAA tourney, a feat that BU had not accomplished since 2002. Coach has the charisma and passion to be successful on a national stage.
Any general thoughts on the coach?
I have been very happy with his two years of success at BU. In the past, I used to attend Dennis Wolff coached games, and they were flat out miserable. Our team had no fight and Coach Wolff looked as if he had given up. Making the NCAA tournament this year and putting up a respectable fight against Kansas pleased many BU fans across the nation. I understand that news had come out Coach Chambers had just signed a contract extension until the 2015-16 season, and I am hoping that he chooses to stay at BU!