Ed DeChellis' departure from Penn State is going to be talked about for a while around the sphere. Not only is it controversial, it's the last ending many were expecting for his tenure at Penn State. Ultimately, though, that chapter of Penn State basketball is officially closed. The search is on for a new coach, and that certainly deserves some play in the coming days.
Today, we're going to try and briefly break down some guys who are getting mentions here in the early going. This is by no means a comprehensive list of potential replacements, just a little bit more background from some guys who are getting play elsewhere.
First, let's take a look at the list of Mr. Insider himself, David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News from yesterday.
Well, it's possible Curley thinks he can still lure Fran Dunphy away from Temple if given a second shot with a bigger bankroll. There's Patrick Chambers, an up-n-comer at Boston University with Philadelphia connections. And former Bucknell miracle-worker Pat Flannery, who retired from burn-out three years back, could very easily be willing to get back in the race after a refreshing siesta.
Dunphy is a man Penn State fans should know well from his time at Pennsylvania and now at Temple. He's won 20 games with the Owls in each of the last four seasons and has brought that team back to the top of the Atlantic-10. Perhaps his biggest win recently was the Owls' 66-64 win against Penn State in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. His estimated salary, however, is $700,000, a number Penn State was barely willing to give DeChellis after eight years. It would probably take a significant raise to pry him out of Philadelphia.
Chambers worked under Jay Wright at Villanova until 2009, when he left to take the Boston job. He took the Terriers to the semifinals of the CBI in 2010, and this past year, led them to an NCAA Tournament invitation, where they lost to Kansas. A move to Penn State would be a real step up for him, and given his Philadelphia connections, he could be a good fit.
Flannery presided over good basketball at Bucknell, leading the Bison to the tournament twice, but who knows whether he's over said burnout.
Andy Katz of ESPN also has some interesting suggestions on his relatively long list. In addition to Chambers and Dunphy, Katz mentions some other current head coaches including Milwaukee's Rob Jeter, Drexel's Bruiser Flint, Marshall's Tom Herrion and Duquesne's Ron Everhart as potential candidates. He also names Ohio State assistant Jeff Boals as a possibility as well as former head coaches Dino Gaudio and Al Skinner.
Jeter took Milwaukee to the verge of the NCAA Tournament this past season. His Panthers fell to Butler in the Horizon League championship game to miss out on a bid. He hasn't earned a bid in his six years there, however, and has had some up and down seasons. Probably not a home run hire.
Flint has put together some good years with the Dragons at Drexel but has yet to make the NCAA Tournament there. Katz also speculates that it'd be tough to pry him away, as Drexel is expected to be a tough team in the Colonial Athletic Association this year and Flint's stock could presumably rise significantly.
Herrion went 22-12 in his first year at Marshall after spending time with Jamie Dixon at Pittsburgh. It'd be nice to see him get a little more seasoning, but his Pitt connection is certainly interesting. Pitt and Penn State face many of the same recruiting obstacles and hiring a man familiar with them who'd also come fairly cheap might be a decent hire.
Everhart has led Duquesne back to respectability in the Atlantic-10. The Dukes won just three games total in 2006, the year before he arrived, but by 2009, he led them to a 20 win season and the verge of the NCAA Tournament. The Dukes have slid backward the past couple of years, but he still appears to be somewhat of a miracle worker and a hireable one for Penn State at that.
Gaudio took over at Wake Forest for the late Skip Prosser in 2008. He led the Demon Decons to a four seed in the NCAA Tournament in 2009, then a nine seed in 2010, but was fired for failing to win in the postseason. Of course, at Penn State, simply getting to the postseason is an acheivement, so there would probably be less pressure for him to win if he could get the Nittany Lions there. He might want more than Penn State is willing to pay, however, so whether he's a possibility or not remains to be seen.
Skinner took Boston College to the Big Dance in five of his eight season in Chestnut Hill before being fired in 2010 after posting a losing record. While his resume is more than good enough for Penn State, he's probably overqualified and could command a salary well north of anything Penn State has shown itself willing to pay to this point. He's a possibility, but only if Penn State opens the check book.
And just as I'm finishing up this post, our own NGameday11 just tweeted that he heard something interesting on a Philadelphia radio station.
Larry Brown said: You set it up (the interview) and I'll be there.
Ya, ok. I'll believe that when it happens, although there is already a photo of him at Penn State hanging in the Bryce Jordan Press room so...maybe the suits like him? Who knows.
Anyway, like I said, this is hardly a comprehensive list. If other potential candidates pop up, we'll keep you posted here at BSD, but here's a list to nibble on for now.
UPDATE: Here's a link to the sound of Larry Brown talking with Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia about the Penn State vacancy.