Big Ten To Patriot League? DeChellis Had Reasons

Ed DeChellis had been at Penn State since 2003, and on more than one occasion, it seemed as though he might be on his way out. Ironically, he’s leaving his alma mater at a time when it wasn’t expected at all — and on his own terms.

On Monday, DeChellis announced he’s leaving Penn State to become the head coach at Navy. A shocking move, to say the least. Few coaches trade a Big Ten position for a Patriot League gig. But what DeChellis loses in pay and prestige, he makes up for in job security.

DeChellis was under pressure to win, which he did last season, guiding the Nittany Lions to their first NCAA tournament since the beginning of the milennium. That, along with his 2009 NIT title, might not have been enough to get him an extension a year from now, though.

At Navy, DeChellis has time and a clean slate. So while he’ll almost certainly take a significant pay cut and encounter troubles recruiting with Navy’s admissions and post graduate requirements, he’ll be able to build a program at his own rate. Oh, and he’ll also call beautiful Annapolis, Md., home.

As for Penn State, who knows where it will turn. It’s rare that a school has to perform a national search for a new basketball coach in late May, but that’s the situation AD Tim Curley faces.

“We will quickly begin a national search for new leadership for the Nittany Lion Basketball program,” Curley said in a release. “It will be a comprehensive search focused on finding the best candidate to lead Penn State Basketball into the future.”

Considering the timing of the opening and the fact Penn State lost 80 percent of its starting lineup, the Nittany Lions don’t figure to have their choice of coaches, something Maryland had a couple weeks ago. Most likely, Penn State will either promote from within, target a respected assistant or lure a non-Big 6 conference coach to Happy Valley.

Ed DeChellis File

* Penn State head coach since 2003

* 222-232 overall record

* One NIT title (2009)

* One NCAA tourney appearance (2010-11)

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