Maintaining continuity among college basketball coaching staffs is nearly impossible. Assistant coaches don't get nearly the pay as their bosses, but they are responsible for the brunt of recruiting, scouting, preparing game plans, running practices, and developing players. They must travel all over the country to AAU tournaments in the offseason, especially in July when they will spend most of the month on the road.
It's not a position many view as the pinnacle of their career. So it's not much of a surprise when assistants are on the move, usually in an attempt to further their career with a better opportunity. Pat Chambers has been fortunate to keep his original staff together for his first two seasons, but it appears changes are on the horizon.
David Jones reported this morning that it's very possible associate head coach Eugene Burroughs will not be on Chambers' staff again next year. Unfortunately, the cause doesn't appear to be for a better coaching opportunity elsewhere. Jones' report quotes Chambers as saying Burroughs has 'family concerns', and it seems his potential departure could be more for personal reasons than professional.
Burroughs has been instrumental to the program's assault on the Philadelphia basketball scene in his two years in State College. If he does move on from Penn State ('50-50' chance), it would leave big shoes to fill for Chambers, who would then need to find a valuable replacement with strong recruiting ties.
While Burroughs future is still up in the air, it was also confirmed by Jones yesterday that strength coach Brad Pantall has been relieved of his duties with the men's basketball program. Pantall became the program's first ever strength coach under Ed DeChellis when he was hired 7 years ago. He kept his position after Chambers arrived, but it appears the new staff would now like to go in a different direction. Pantall will retain his responsibilities with the women's basketball team and may work with other PSU teams in the future.
It's safe to assume that Craig Fitzgerald had a hand in the decision, as Pantall was a former John Thomas pupil. With Fitzgerald overseeing the strength and conditioning programs throughout the Athletics Department, it's likely Fitz and Chambers will bring in a more innovative trainer for the program. The first order of business for whoever lands the job will be beefing up Donovon Jack, the 6'9" 205-pound rising sophomore.
The last reported change could be the departure of video coordinator Adam Fisher. Without an immediate opportunity to advance at his alma mater, Fisher's actively pursuing an assistant coaching position somewhere else. Fish was a former student manager under Ed DeChellis and graduate manager under Jay Wright, where he met and has followed Pat Chambers since. While the loss of a video coordinator might not be as crippling, Fish has been a well-liked and respected member of the program since his return to State College. He would be missed.
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