Onward Debates: Will Micah Shrewsberry Remain At Penn State?

For the last few weeks, rumors have been circulating about the future of Penn State men’s basketball head coach Micah Shrewsberry, who has been linked to job openings at other schools like Notre Dame.

The speculation that Shrewsberry might leave only increased when he recently told reporters it was an “I don’t know question” over whether he would be coaching the Nittany Lions next season. However, CBS Sports college basketball insider Jon Rothstein reported last week that Penn State is “prepared to make a significant, long-term financial commitment” to Shrewsberry as soon as its season ends.

Now that the season is over following Penn State’s 71-66 loss against Texas on Saturday night, we’re a step closer to finding out whether or not the second-year head coach will return for a third season in Happy Valley. Penn Live’s Dave Jones reported on Monday that Shrewsberry has been in talks with Notre Dame and that whatever happens will happen “soon.”

Two of our writers debated whether he will ultimately stay or leave.

Owen Abbey: Leave

Folks, I hate to say this, but Micah Shrewsberry will not be the head coach at Penn State for much longer. The sad reality is that, as much as we claim Penn State is a basketball school, it isn’t. The university has not made enough investments in the program to warrant keeping a coach like Shrewsberry, and it is too late to start investing now.

I actually wouldn’t be this pessimistic if the Notre Dame job was not open. The opportunity for Shrewsberry to go to his home state of Indiana and coach in a Power Five Conference is too good to pass up. It is a move that makes all the sense in the world and one that would make him think about whether Penn State is actually a good fit for him.

It was reported last week that Penn State was prepared to offer Shrewsberry a significant deal and make a significant investment in the program. I do believe that Pat Kraft will make that offer to Shrewsberry. The concern is how that matches up with Notre Dame or another school. If the deals are around the same, then why would he stay in a program that has made the tournament three times this century, especially when he could go to a program that already has the infrastructure in place to develop high-level basketball teams?

Shrewsberry leaving would be a disaster for the Nittany Lions, but it is a disaster that they should expect. They should have contingency plans in place that could prevent the complete destruction of the team, like making Adam Fisher the next head coach. If they plan how to handle the fallout from Shrewsberry potentially leaving, there may be a silver lining in this situation.

I want to be wrong. I really want to be wrong. I just don’t see how Shrewsberry turns down an Indiana school like Notre Dame.

Nolan Wick: Stay

Although it’s entirely possible that Micah Shrewsberry will take a job at Notre Dame or another school, I think it’s more likely than not that he will end up signing a long-term contract extension to remain Penn State men’s basketball’s head coach for the foreseeable future, and there are two big reasons why. 

The first reason is Penn State’s willingness to keep him. Pat Kraft and the university’s desire to commit significant financial resources to the program, as Rothstein reported, speaks volumes, and nothing talks like money. If the school does whatever it takes to offer the most money and provide resources to keep building the program, that could be enough to entice Shrewsberry to put pen to paper. 

Plus, can you imagine the backlash the school and Kraft would face if they let Shrewsberry leave in Kraft’s first year on the job? The consequences of letting him leave, combined with the desire to win, give Penn State every last incentive to keep Shrewsberry.

The second reason is Shrewsberry himself. Since arriving at Penn State, he has devoted maximum time and effort to building this program. That is very evident considering he took a team with low expectations nearly to the Sweet Sixteen in just his second year on the job. 

Shrewsberry has made it clear how happy he is to be here and how eager he is to keep building Penn State’s program, especially recently. Unless none of that is true, which is highly doubtful, then why would he leave when the program’s direction is trending upward at such a fast rate, especially if offered a big contract?

With significant success on the court already, Shrewsberry has to have seen enough at this point to know he can win here. After praising some of his players for “taking the hard route” by giving him a chance and staying at Penn State, jumping ship so soon for a potentially easier job just doesn’t sound like something Shrewsberry would do if Penn State’s contract offer is even remotely similar. 

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About the Author


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