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
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
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
”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
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
Some fans and students view men’s basketball warily given the
lack of long-term success, while some others view it with
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
”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.