With Dechellis Out At PSU, Will Lions Look To Philly For Help?

Posted: May 23, 2011 by jeffkerr in Sports in General

Ed Dechellis has stepped down as the Penn State Nittany Lions men’s basketball coach for the same position at Navy.

The move is shocking to many Penn State basketball faithful, as the program just came off its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2001.

The Pennsylvania State University is approximately three-hours from Philadelphia. The Nittany Lions have to recruit in the area to build a contending Big Ten team.

If Penn State wants to become a legitimate Big Ten contender every season, the program needs to lure a big-time coach in order to land some good Philly basketball talent.

Which brings up the case of Fran Dunphy as the next head coach of the Nittany Lions.

Dunphy is known for building and rebuilding college basketball programs in the Philadelphia area. At Penn, Dunphy complied a 310-163 record, with 10 Ivy League titles in his 17-year tenure. Fran coached the 1994 Quakers into the second round of the NCAA Tournament, after an upset of sixth-seeded Nebraska.

When Dunphy was at Penn, the program was expected to win the Ivy League and make the NCAA tournament every season.

Dunphy currently is the head coach at Temple, succeeding Big 5 legend John Chaney in 2006. He rebuilt the Owls into an Atlantic-10 power and NCAA tournament regular once again. The Owls are 110-57 under Dunphy’s reign, with four consecutive NCAA tournament appearances and three Atlantic-10 tournament championships.

Fran Dunphy is the coach Penn State needs.

The Nittany Lions have the money and resources to rebuild a program in two to three years under Dunphy’s reign. Fran will not be able to recruit players at Villanova’s level, but can sway away some of the second-tier players that choose Temple, St. Joe’s, or LaSalle.

Dunphy makes his players better from year one to year four and gets the best out of his team. Fran is an excellent defensive coach, which will fit well with Big Ten basketball.

Unfortunately for Penn State basketball, the program will need to offer Dunphy a lot of money and benefits to lure him out of Temple.

The Owls will be a top-25 team next season and are a virtual lock for the NCAA tournament. Dunphy has top players Juan Fernandez, Micheal Eric, and Ramone Moore returning and another strong recruiting class heading to Broad Street.

Temple is an Atlantic-10 powerhouse and is slowly creeping up to Villanova’s level in terms of success. A deep NCAA Tournament run (possibly next year) would transform the Owls into a national power once again.

Fran has coached and lived almost his whole life in Philly, so why would he want to head to the middle of nowhere to rebuild a basketball team he just defeated in this past year’s tournament?

Penn State should at least try to persuade him away from Broad Street in hopes of trying to build a basketball power. Dunphy has done it everywhere else he coached, so why not take his talents to Happy Valley?

  1. tjc123 says:

    Penn State would be a big step down for Dunph, in terms of prestige, facilities, fan/community interest, recruiting base, university’s commitment to winning…he’s turned down interview opportunities for bigger schools. This season, in addition to a top 25 team, Dunph will have a new practice facility which should be a major recruiting tool (140,000 dedicated practice space and coaches offices). The funny part is, PSU could have had him back in 2003 but chose DeChellis instead.

  2. Jeff Kerr says:

    I hear ya TJC. PSU needs to at least make an effort to get a coach like Fran. If they want to have a successful basketball program, they need to do two things.

    1. Hire a big-name or rising coach.

    2. Recruit in Philly/Pitt.

    PSU has the money and major conference factor to lure Dunphy away, but I would be shocked if he took a job at State. He is doing an excellent job at TU and that team will be in the top 25 all year. Fran can recruit there as well. Temple just keeps getting better and more recognized every season.

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