Not an ideal time for PSU to pick a coach

May, 24, 2011
Quick hitters for a Tuesday:

• Penn State will have a hard time securing a big-name coach to replace Ed DeChellis. But that shouldn't come as a surprise. DeChellis came from East Tennessee State, after all.

The timing of the departure will make it even harder for Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Eddie Fogler, who was hired to help with the search. Not to mention that Penn State will likely be picked to finish last in the new 12-team Big Ten.

Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter, who is from Pittsburgh and is a former Big Ten assistant at Wisconsin, would definitely listen, according to sources. He could be a good fit. So, too, would Boston University coach Pat Chambers, who was a former Villanova assistant. Drexel's Bruiser Flint would listen but he has one of his better teams returning and the Dragons have a real shot to win the Colonial Athletic Association.

Recruiting to Penn State from heavily trafficked Philadelphia area is also a chore. Penn State is as close to the D.C.-Baltimore area as it is to Philly. So Temple's Fran Dunphy makes a lot of sense for PSU, but why would he want to go to one of the worst jobs in the Big Ten while at one of the best in the A-10?

Marshall's Tom Herrion has a potential NCAA tournament team and isn't going to leave after one year for a job like Penn State. Of course, Big Ten assistants like Ohio State's Jeff Boals would have to leave for the job, as would certain coaches in the MAC if offered. Duquesne head coach Ron Everhart would also have to take the job if offered based on the Dukes' standing in the A-10, salary and potential for career growth. There are also former coaches like Dino Gaudio (Wake Forest) or Al Skinner (Boston College) who would no doubt be interested if contacted.

Maryland's job was much more attractive, so landing a solid coach in May like Texas A&M's Mark Turgeon was no surprise. At Penn State, the salary structure would have to change to attract a big-name coach. Paying shy of $1 million will limit the pool and not only price out power-six coaches, but also plenty of other coaches at the top of leagues like the Colonial (someone like Old Dominion's Blaine Taylor) and Missouri Valley (can't touch Wichita State's Gregg Marshall).

• The SEC will hold its annual spring meetings next week in Florida and once again a hot topic will be whether the league will go to one division in basketball and reseed the SEC tournament. Kentucky coach John Calipari will chair the meeting and said he is open to all ideas. He said he was in favor of changing Conference USA to one division from two when he was at Memphis. Calipari said that Alabama's inability to get an NCAA bid after winning the SEC West is an example of the need for one division and more balanced scheduling. Currently, division members play each other twice, with only one game with a member of the other division.

Alabama coach Anthony Grant admitted there were other factors as to why the Tide didn't get a bid (like its nonconference scheduling), but he is open to all options. So is Georgia's Mark Fox. The vote a year ago with the coaches was split and the athletic directors didn't move on the matter.

The SEC tournament seeding is also an issue with the top two teams from the West receiving the same treatment (a bye) as the top two teams in what has lately been a much stronger East. One compromise could be to keep two divisions and at least reseed the SEC tournament from 1-12. If the league goes to one division, it would have to change its scheduling format. Going to one division and keeping the same football-scheduling format wouldn't solve anything.

Calipari said the SEC scheduling format isn't fair to the SEC East with NCAA teams Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and Vanderbilt playing each other twice last season and the West -- which had no NCAA bids -- once. But Calipari added, "it's also unfair to the West.''

• Missouri State coach Paul Lusk, who was a former assistant at Missouri Southern, said the program's head coach, Robert Corn, told him the school was spared from the treacherous tornado that came through Joplin, Mo., on Sunday. Lusk said he and his wife still have plenty of friends in the area and luckily they've all been accounted for after the massive tornado leveled much of the town. Lusk said he will be helping in some form in the recovery. Missouri State has already issued a statement to its students and faculty with a need for blood donations.

• Oregon remains a sleeper pick in the Pac-12 with most of the team returning from a squad that shockingly won 21 games and a postseason title in the CBI. The Ducks could be a trendy pick in the wide-open conference with the recent addition of Louisiana Tech forward Olu Ashaolu, who is transferring to Oregon as first reported by the National Hoops Report. Ashaolu will be eligible immediately and can be a solid force in the post for the Ducks. He averaged 14.2 ppg and 9.4 rpg for the Bulldogs last season.

• Hawaii coach Gib Arnold said his team's trip to China and Japan this summer is a "huge deal." The Warriors raised $100,000 for the trip and Arnold said it's the first time Hawaii is taking a trip like this since the team played in the Jones Cup in Taiwan in the 1980s. Boosters have committed to going on the trip, as well as the upper administration from UH. The games will be broadcast back to the Islands.

Andy Katz | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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