Energetic Chambers introduced as PSU coach

With a firm handshake and confident voice, Patrick Chambers told

nearly everyone he encountered Monday that a new era of hoops had

dawned in Happy Valley.

The energetic Chambers didn’t hold back while being formally

introduced as Penn State’s next basketball coach, declaring his

Nittany Lions would ”scrap for every inch to make sure that we can

compete on a daily basis.”

”The foundation is here, the bricks have been laid,” Chambers

said, pointing to Penn State’s 2009 NIT championship and NCAA

appearance this spring. ”We need to continue on the path of

consistency.”

The Philadelphia-area native and former Villanova assistant

parlayed a successful two-year stint at Boston University into a

head coaching job at a power conference program at age 40. He took

the Terriers to the NCAAs this spring, too, a second-round loss to

Kansas.

Once a salesman, the eager Chambers may need to draw from his

strengths in his current and prior professions to sell a Penn State

program that, over its recent history, has been consistently

inconsistent.

”This will be the finest chapter in our history,” athletic

director Tim Curley said. ”His contagious, positive attitude;

confidence in the program and the university … and his values

inspired us to believe he is the perfect (coach) to lead program

into greatness.”

There’s seemingly much work to be done to become a consistent

contender in the competitive Big Ten.

Sandwiched between the two postseason appearances over the last

three years was an 11-20 season in 2009-10. The Nittany Lions’

visit in March to the NCAAs – a second-round loss to Temple – was

their first in a decade. Penn State has struggled to fill the

15,000-seat capacity Jordan Center, and attract top recruits.

Former coach Ed DeChellis was a Penn State graduate known for

his work ethic. He developed players who hit the books and who, for

the most part, stayed out of trouble. His specialty on the

recruiting trail was developing under-the-radar prospects, such as

career-leading scorer Talor Battle.

But the program faced another rebuilding campaign in 2011-12

with Battle and three other senior starters out of eligibility –

and that was before DeChellis departed May 23 to take the same job

at Navy.

Some fans and students view men’s basketball warily given the

lack of long-term success, while some others view it with

apathy.

Chambers praised his predecessor and said DeChellis left a solid

foundation. Chambers also said he was tabbed in part to shake up

the perception of the job and program.

”That’s why they hired me,” he said later Monday in a

15-minute round-table with reporters. ”I think we’re slowly

changing the perception. That’s Phase 1. Phase 2 is you’ve got to

get out in the community. You’ve got to recruit players. And then

you have to win some games.”

Chambers also shook off questions that Penn State isn’t

committed to basketball. Both the men’s and women’s teams in

February had to spend a few practice sessions at an intramural

building court typically reserved for pick-up games after the

Jordan Center was booked for events like a job fair or Bon Jovi

concert.

”The whole Bon Jovi thing is comical to me,” he said. ”As

long as there are 94 feet, two rims and a basketball. … I’m not

saying it wouldn’t have bothered me. All I am saying is we’ve got

to find solutions.

”I think this administration is going to find solutions, and

they’re committed to winning and to me.”

Chambers said his next priority is to put together a staff.

He’ll interview the two remaining assistants left over from

DeChellis’ staff, but also said he would like to be loyal to the

assistants remaining at Boston.