History Repeating Itself; Penn State looking for their next head coach
After a great 2022-23 season, Penn State head coach Micah Shrewsberry is heading back to the state of Indiana, becoming the next head coach of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Shrewsberry leaves Penn State after two seasons and leaves the program in a tough spot with the departures of veterans like Jalen Pickett, Camren Wynter, Andrew Funk, Myles Dread, Michael Henn and Seth Lundy.
When the news was announced, it seemed like Penn State was in a horrible position for the future with transfer portal departures seeming imminent for the blue and white. However, even with things looking very dark for the future of the program, this is not the first time the Nittany Lions have been in this situation.
Back in 2011, Penn State made the NCAA Tournament after a great season with a veteran team, led by Talor Battle, who is Penn State’s all-time leading scorer. The team made a miraculous run in the Big Ten Tournament that saw them make their first-ever appearance in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game, before falling to Ohio State in the finals.
Head coach Ed DeChellis coached the team to their first tournament appearance in 10 years as a 10-seed in the big dance, before falling to Temple in the Round of 64.
The program was going to lose players like Battle, Andrew Jones, Jeff Brooks and David Jackson who helped contribute to a 2009 NIT Championship and a 2011 NCAA Tournament appearance during their time in State College. With those players gone, DeChellis was looking for a new contract in University Park, as the Penn State alumnus wanted a long-term deal to help with stability to build the program after the great season.
The Nittany Lions were non-committal in their pitch to DeChellis, leading the coach to start searching around for other jobs in the country. DeChellis ended up accepting the head coaching position at Navy in May, leaving the Nittany Lions with a huge void at head coach late in the cycle.
This was a tough blow for the blue and white, and Penn State would eventually hire Patrick Chambers as their next head coach, who struggled early in his tenure. Chambers would eventually lead the Nittany Lions to an NIT Championship in 2018, and a very successful season in 2019-2020 where Penn State was set to play in the NCAA Tournament before the season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This process sounds very similar to the position the program is in now, with Shrewsberry’s sudden departure to Notre Dame after an NCAA Tournament appearance. With key departures as well, it seems like the program is in a state of rebuilding once again, as it was when Shrewsberry got here back in 2021.
Now, the pressure is on Athletic Director Patrick Kraft to begin his search for the next head coach for the blue and white. Even with the program looking like it is set for a tough rebuild, the right hire could help set Penn State on the right track for the future of the basketball program.
It has been done before, and Penn State looks to make the necessary moves to help sustain a successful basketball program for years to come in Happy Valley.
Adam Sheetz is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.