Penn State Hoops Hires Joe Crispin To Mike Rhoades’ Coaching Staff

Update, April 3:

Mike Rhoades added two more former VCU folks to his new staff in Happy Valley, the team announced Monday, April 3.

Clay Connor will continue his work as Rhoades’ director of player development. He previously served in the same position at VCU for one year. A Shippensburg basketball alum, Connor played for the Big Red for four years and worked as a graduate assistant at VCU for the following two years.

Penn State hoops’ newest video coordinator will be Jake Szczecina. Szczecina, also a former graduate assistant in Richmond, operated as Rhoades’ most recent video coordinator at VCU from 2022-23.

Update, March 31:

Mike Rhoades officially announced the roles of his new staff Friday morning. Penn State men’s basketball alum Joe Crispin will serve as the assistant to the head coach, while Rhoades’ staff from VCU will essentially remain in their previous roles.

Jamal Brunt will operate as the associate head coach and J.D. Byers and Brent Scott will continue their work as assistant coaches under Rhoades. Penn State hoops’ new chief of staff will be Jimmy Martelli, who worked as VCU men’s basketball’s director of operations.

Original Story:

Newly hired Penn State men’s basketball head coach Mike Rhoades wasted no time pulling his staff together after his hiring was made official Wednesday afternoon. Rhoades has brought Penn State basketball legend Joe Crispin onto the Nittany Lions’ coaching staff, as first reported by 247Sports on Wednesday.

Rhoades officially announced the hire during his introductory press conference on Thursday. It’s unclear what role he’ll take on. Additionally, Rhoades announced former VCU staffers Brent Scott, Jamal Brunt, J.D. Byers, and Jimmy Martelli are part of his new coaching staff. They’re all in attendance at today’s press conference sporting Penn State quarter zips.

Brunt served as Rhoades’ associate head coach at VCU, while Byers and Scott were assistants. Martelli was the director of operations under Rhoades at VCU.

Crispin spent the last seven seasons as the head coach of Division III Rowan University in New Jersey. He tallied a 114-54 record from 2016 to 2023, and most recently led the Profs to a 24-6 record and a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the Division III NCAA Tournament.

Before venturing into coaching, Crispin had a brief career in the NBA. As an undrafted free agent, he appeared in a handful of games for the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001 and the Phoenix Suns in 2002 before going to Europe to play professionally.

Penn State fans remember Crispin from his days as a star point guard from 1997 to 2001. He is the program’s fourth-highest leading scorer with 1,986 career points scored and is tied for the fifth-most assists in program history with 485.

In his senior season, Crispin led the Nittany Lions to a Sweet Sixteen appearance after upsetting No. 2-seeded UNC in the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. It was the last time Penn State won a tournament game until this year.

Crispin ventured into the world of writing and penned the book “Offense Wins: A Player’s 12 Foundational Principles for Great Basketball Offense” in 2020. Rhoades’ rosters have historically dominated on defense but struggled to produce offensive firepower. A strong offensive mind in Crispin could balance Rhoades’ defensive mentality.

Rhoades, Crispin, and the remainder of the Nittany Lions’ undetermined coaching staff will work to keep the handful of players that entered the transfer portal following Shrewsberry’s departure and actively recruit folks to the roster. In any case, Nittany Lion fans should be happy to see a legend return to Happy Valley.

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About the Author

Owen Abbey

Owen Abbey was a Secondary Education major before he graduated from the wonderful institution known as Penn State. When he was not writing for the blog, he enjoyed rooting for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, supporting Penn State basketball and softball, dreaming of all of the ways he would win the TV show "Survivor," and yes mom, actually doing school work. All of this work prepared him to teach his own class of students, which was always his true passion. He still can be found on Twitter @theowenabbey and can be reached for questions and comments at [email protected]

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