What's the goal here?

So if you haven’t heard by now, Ed DeChellis is staying on board as head coach, along with his staff, for the 2010-2011 season. This shouldn’t surprise anybody, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be upset about it.  David Jones of the Patriot-News got the scoop from Tim Curley through a text message statement. Here’s what Curley’s statement said:

“Yes, Ed will continue to be our head coach,” Curley wrote. “I like the way he runs our program, his assistant coaches and players in the program. I believe we are better than our record shows. Ed and I share the same vision for the program. I have complete confidence in Ed and his staff. No one will work harder or bring greater passion to making the necessary progress.”

Yes, we all know of Ed’s outstanding pedigree off the court. But the reality is he just wrapped up his 4th last place finish in 7 seasons. Disappointing seasons like this one are far more tolerable if the coach has proven his worth with prior accomplishments. Two NIT appearances (with an NIT championship), a 27% Big Ten winning percentage, and 1 winning season do not excuse this underachieving year. I’m not going to turn this into a rain on DeChellis parade. I don’t think he’s done anything worthy enough to justify the 650K he’s making, and I don’t think he’s ever going to turn around the basketball program (mostly because of his inability to recruit at the level needed to be competitive in this league). That’s all I’m going to say about him, but it’s not about DeChellis, nor should it be. It should be about the program that we all support and Tim Curley oversees. We, as fans, have never gotten any sort of ‘vision’ for this program from the Athletic Department. We just get blasted with how great of a person DeChellis is. ED has received two contract extensions in his time here, after signing an original 6 year deal back in 2003. These are quotes from Curley during each statement about ED:

April 2003 – Ed DeChellis is hired

“We are thrilled to welcome Ed DeChellis back to Penn State as our new men’s basketball coach,” Curley said. “Ed was a highly-respected member of our basketball staff for 10 years and was instrumental in the recruitment of some of the greatest players to play at Penn State. During his seven years as head coach at East Tennessee State, Ed has taken the Buccaneers from the bottom of the Southern Conference standings to three North Division titles and the Southern Conference Championship this past season. Ed has demonstrated the ability to recruit and lead student-athletes, playing an exciting brand of basketball and developing a strong program across the board. We look forward to working with Ed, his staff and players on reaching the lofty goals we have for the men’s basketball program.”

August 2006 – Ed’s contract (for recruiting purposes) is extended after an NIT appearance in his 3rd year

“We are very excited with the direction coach DeChellis has our men’s basketball program heading and are pleased that he will continue to lead the program into the future,” Curley said. “Ed has energized the program and the Penn State basketball community and the team has made great strides in his first three years. We believe he and his staff have laid the ground work for continued success both on and off the court for years to come.”

October 2009 – Ed’s contract is extended again after the NIT championship

“We are very excited about the significant progress our men’s basketball program has made under Coach DeChellis and are thrilled that he will continue to lead the program into the future,” Curley said. “Ed and his staff have brought tremendous work ethic, passion and energy to the program and the Penn State basketball community. This past season was very special. All the time and hard work by Ed and his team resulted in many outstanding victories and program firsts, capped by the NIT Championship in front of thousands of enthusiastic Penn State fans in Madison Square Garden. Ed and his staff have built a great foundation for continued success on the court, in the community and in the graduation of our basketball student-athletes for years to come, and I am excited about the direction and leadership Ed is providing to the program.”

Not once in any of those quotes do we get any sort of ‘vision’ or ‘expectations’ from Curley. Of course when Ed is asked about goals and what not, he rattles off the coach speak, like he should. Winning the Big Ten, going to the NCAAs. But we haven’t really been close to any of that in 7 years (with the exception of last year). So what the hell is Tim Curley’s vision for this program? If they are the same as DeChellis’, how on earth can you continue to let such poor job performance and futile results go without harm?

I just don’t get it. We’ve watched the AD significantly upgrade the resources within the program. You would think they were spending money so they can eventually win. I’ve been tolerant to the AD’s patience with ED, while doing so. Not too many coaches can go from 6-10 to 2-14 within the conference in your fourth year and still have the job. But they let DeChellis persevere and it looked like PSU was starting to build some momentum…

Then this year happened. All I want is an explanation of the athletic department’s expectations. Obviously, graduating players and representing the university are going to be priorities and that’s fine. But do we really not care at all about winning? That’s the message they continue to send to fans with blanket statements like ‘we’re better than our record indicates’ (have they not heard of Degree of DeChellis?) While that is certainly true this year, have they not realized that we’ve always had a better record than our play indicated the previous 6 seasons?

Now is there a chance for improvement next year? Obviously, yes. But as I’ve said before, one must look deeper into the future. The time to change regimes is now, not after next year. 2011-2012 is looking very bleak. You thought the frontcourt this year was bad…

So what is the ultimatum next year (if there even is one)? Many people are saying NCAAs or bust, but I wouldn’t be shocked if another NIT-like 2009 season occurred that DeChellis will still be here in 2011. Success is not a priority, especially since football pays the AD’s bills. All I know is if ED can’t get to the NCAA tournament with a player like Battle, I’m pretty sure it’s never gonna happen.

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7 Responses to What's the goal here?

  1. TonyLion says:

    I think Curly and DeChellis have privately discussed specific goals for the program with regards to winning percentages and milestone achievements, but they really cannot make that kind of thing public. Because when they do then they have to set some kind timetable for achieving those objectives.

    Sure they can say our goal is to win the conference, but how long should that take, a couple of years, five, ten, twenty? They can’t get that specific without opening up a big can of worms with the media and fan scrutiny you have today.

    Now that we know DeChellis will definately be back next year, I frankly think the ultimatum has already been given. My preference would be NCAA or bust, but it could be twenty wins or above .500 in conference or another NIT run. A losing season will surely be his undoing.

    If rumors circulating about Ott graduating and Oliver giving up basketball are true, freeing up two scholarships, we should get a good idea of what kind of pressure DeChellis is under. The backcourt is fine for next season, while the front court has been very disappointing. If he uses the extra scholarships on a couple of high school seniors similar to the players being replaced, that tells us something. But if he brings in a JUCO post player, or maybe even two, that tells us something entirely different. Don’t be supprised if we see the latter. He grabbed Stanley Pringle because at that time he was as desperate for more speed in the backcourt as he is for a post presence today.

    Personally, I hope it is the latter; I want to fix the problem and win now dammit. Besides, I, like DeChellis and want him to be successful, which means the program gets successful. Everybody wins.

  2. Eric says:

    I hear ya. I just wish we could get a little more out of Curley. Especially when you see Auburn’s AD write a personal letter to ‘the Auburn family’ about why Jeff Lebo was fired. Or Iowa’s AD giving such specifics as to why Lickliter got the boot.

    Dwight McCombs is the JUCO I want…gotta get him to visit first.

  3. TonyLion says:

    Scout rates McCombs as a one star prospect. What do you know about him that the rest of us don’t?

  4. Eric says:

    That he’s got offers from Minnesota, Arkansas, and Missouri

  5. tonylion says:

    Rivals is showing no offers.
    What’s up with that?
    We now have 3 scholies available.

  6. Eric says:

    Don’t believe the Rivals/Scout databases. They are always wrong.

    http://recruiting.arkansasonline.com/index.php/2010/03/12/power-forward-eager-to-see-player-coach-interaction/

    I’ll address the transfer train and roster situation sometime tomorrow.

  7. TonyLion says:

    It doesn’t appear McCombs is all that interested in Penn State.

    Any chance we can get Eric McKnight ?

    http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/college/recruiting/2010/03/princeton_day_academys_mcknight_on_ums_radar.html

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