A Brief Look At Penn State Athletics’ Top Transfer Successes
Over the past few years, the NCAA transfer portal has provided student-athletes the ability to move between schools and, effectively, explore free agency, as it were.
In the last couple of months alone, Penn State football and basketball have seen roster turnover through the transfer portal. Often, it seems to be players leaving Penn State and finding new homes elsewhere.
But what about the players who have transferred into Penn State and become stars during their time as a Nittany Lion? Let’s take a brief look at some of the greatest transfer successes in Penn State history.
DJ Newbill, Guard, Penn State Hoops
Coming out of high school, Newbill was a three-star rated guard from Strawberry Mansion High School in Philadelphia. Despite being from Pennsylvania, he opted to attend Southern Mississippi University.
At Southern Miss, Newbill was a budding star for the Golden Eagles, as he started in all 32 games, averaging 30.5 minutes a night and 9.2 points per game. His spectacular freshman season also earned Newbill Conference USA All-Freshman Team honors. Despite his success, Newbill decided to transfer back home to Penn State at the end of the 2010-11 season.
After sitting out a season due to the transfer rules, Newbill was an immediate star for Penn State during his redshirt sophomore campaign. He was named a team captain and led the Nittany Lions in both points and assists, helping him earn an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection.
Newbill was selected as a second-team All-Big Ten player in his final two years in a Penn State uniform. He never played in the NBA but left Penn State as one of the best players ever to put on a Nittany Lions uniform. He currently plays with Osaka Evessa in the Japanese Basketball League.
Aaron Molloy, Midfielder, Penn State Men’s Soccer
Also known as the “Irish Messi,” Molloy’s road to State College was a long and winding one. As a native of Dublin, Ireland, Molloy began his soccer career before college as a part of the youth team for Bohemian F.C., one of the biggest clubs in Ireland.
He then moved to the United States and played his first year of collegiate soccer at Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Seahawk program is a part of the NAIA, which isn’t even a part of the NCAA system. Still, Molloy made the most of his opportunity, playing in 15 matches, earning Sun Conference Freshman of the Year honors along with a second-team All-Conference selection.
Following the 2016 season, Molloy transferred to join Jeff Cook and the Nittany Lions. He scored in his debut match versus Hofstra and quickly worked his way up the ladder through the Nittany Lions’ program. By his senior season, Molloy was a semi-finalist for the MAC Hermann Trophy, which is annually awarded to the best player in college soccer. His 24 points during the 2019 campaign were the most scored by a Nittany Lion since 2014.
Molloy was later drafted in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft by the Portland Timbers. He spent the majority of his time in Portland with the USL team before joining USL League One’s Forward Madison FC for the 2021 season.
Glenn Sekunda, Forward, Penn State Hoops
Sekunda isn’t a well-known name in Penn State basketball lore, but he was a solid player for the Nittany Lions during his time with the program.
Sekunda played his high school ball at Parsippany Hills in New Jersey before committing to play at perennial powerhouse Syracuse. He was a good outside shooter for his 6’7″ frame, but he struggled to receive minutes on a talented Syracuse team.
Sekunda remained with the Orange for his sophomore year, carving out a bench role as the first or second man off the bench. Due to his lack of playing time, he opted to transfer to Penn State after the 1992-93 season.
In two seasons at Penn State, Sekunda played in 60 games and averaged almost 13 points and six rebounds. During his senior year, Sekunda played a big part in helping the Nittany Lions clinch a spot in the 1996 NCAA Tournament, the first appearance for the Nittany Lions in five years.
Sekunda never made it to the NBA, but he played professionally in Europe for more than a decade. He is now the president of Sekunda-Shadle Insurance Agency over in Boalsburg.
Sam Coffey, Midfielder, Penn State Women’s Soccer
Still currently on the roster, Coffey has quickly become one the greatest players to ever put on the Penn State uniform in just two seasons. She didn’t just come out of nowhere, though.
The Long Island, New York native started her collegiate career at Boston College in 2017. There, she racked up a plethora of honors in her first two years with the Eagles. During her sophomore campaign, Coffey scored 12 goals and had 14 assists worth 38 points. She was named a first-team All-American, the ACC Midfielder of the Year, and was a semi-finalist for the Mac Hermann Trophy.
Since coming to State College, Coffey has only gotten better. In 2019, she finished second in the Big Ten in goals (11) and points (32). So far in 2021, she has 21 points in only 12 games played so far. Last week, Coffey was named the No. 2 player in the country and the Big Ten Midfielder of the Year on Wednesday.
Coffey was drafted No. 12 in the 2021 NWSL Draft by the Portland Thorns but announced she will be back with the Nittany Lions next fall. Another season in a Penn State uniform will give Coffey even more time to cement herself as a Penn State legend.
John Amaechi, Center, Penn State Basketball
Amaechi’s story is one that extends off the basketball court. The 6’10” English-American center from Boston came out of high school and went to Vanderbilt to start his college career. After an uninspiring season with the Commodores, Amaechi transferred to Penn State following the 1990-91 season.
During his time at Penn State, Amaechi averaged 15.6 points and almost nine rebounds a game. In his senior season, Amaechi earned All-Big Ten first-team honors. His spectacular senior campaign didn’t lead to him being drafted, but Amaechi signed a contract as a free agent with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Amaechi played almost 300 career games with three different NBA teams before retiring in 2004. He came out of retirement in 2006, and because of his dual nationality, he was able to represent England in the 2006 Commonwealth games, winning a bronze medal.
In 2007, Amaechi publicly came out as gay, becoming the first NBA player to do so. He then worked in England for BBC as a commentator for the 2008 Olympics and is currently a physiatrist. In 2011, he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by the British government.
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Provost Nick Jones said Penn State doesn’t plan on mandating vaccines ahead of the fall semester.
Students can begin selecting alternative grades starting Wednesday, May 12.
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