Penn State men’s basketball coach Ed DeChellis earned another vote of confidence from athletic director Tim Curley, says Altoona Mirror reporter Cory Giger in a story that was released on Monday.
After a 19-15 season which included the Nittany Lions’ first NCAA Tournament appearance in a decade and DeChellis’s first appearance since arriving in Happy Valley eight years ago, Curley said that the future of the program is bright and that he is “supportive of everything he [DeChellis] is doing.”
Curley offered a similar statement last April, a month after the 2009-2010 team, who had very lofty expectations after winning the NIT Championship the year before, went 11-20, putting them in the cellar of the Big Ten.
Many of you who read Onward State on a regular basis know of my opinion on Ed DeChellis. It was a great accomplishment for him to get this Nittany Lion team to lay it all out on the floor in Indianapolis; to win three games and earn themselves a berth in the Big Dance. It was great that they were two points and one un-dislocated shoulder away from beating Temple in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. I certainly won’t discredit him for the performance of this team when they had their backs against the wall.
But, it certainly does not wipe the slate clean or makes the rest of the season (and the seven before this one) forgotten.
Ed DeChellis was only able to lead a team with four senior starters and an up-and-coming point guard to a 15-loss season. Other teams with 15 losses this year are: Virginia (two senior starters and only one other senior to see minutes), California (one senior on the entire team to go along with five freshmen and three sophomores) and Maine, the team who almost had the final say if Penn State went to the Tournament or not.
It truly infuriates me to see an athletic department who will settle for mediocrity in a program as long as it makes a few million dollars in profit every year. Could you imagine if there were eight years of down basketball at UCLA or Notre Dame with one tourney appearance stuck in there somewhere? Hell, could you imagine if there were even three years of awful-looking basketball at those schools? Coaches there would be out the door before their first contract expired. But Tim Curley does not care about building a basketball team who can compete on the national stage here in Happy Valley. He is happy to make his $3,000,000 a year and continue to watch this team average a middle-of-the-pack finish in the Big Ten each year.
So unless we find out that DeChellis is holding a series of illegal barbecues this summer, enjoy at least another three years of the Jester of the Jordan Center. Maybe once his contract is up in 2013-2014, we’ll have an athletic department who is worried about excellence in all sports across campus.