Post-Gazette: Targeting the three keys to the Nittany Lion’s season

Leadership, Chemistry

Go ahead, ask Ed DeChellis about his team captains for this season. You’ll get a puzzle, not an answer.

“Whew,” the Penn State basketball coach said. “I don’t know.”

Though DeChellis sounded uncertain, he also sounded unconcerned. Leaders? Sure, those will come, so long as the team environment promotes it. Last year, that didn’t happen. But now, DeChellis, in his second year, believes the Lions have drastically improved their team chemistry.

“It is a completely different atmosphere than it was a year ago,” DeChellis said. “The locker room is such a better place to be.”

Post-Gazette: PSU hot shot: Ed DeChellis

The person most likely to have the greatest impact on Penn State’s fortunes this season:

Ed DeChellis admits, with a hint of resignation, that Penn State still isn’t the team he’d like it to be. Better than last year?

Certainly. But it still carries a little too much of its traditional image as a Big Ten pushover.

That’s why DeChellis’s job is so important. Within the next two or three years — through recruiting and gradual improvement — he’d like to turn the Lions’ into a more prominent basketball force. But it will take patience — from players, from the administration, even from fans.

Tribune-Review: New season brings stability

Ed DeChellis felt more like a caretaker than a coach during his first season at Penn State.

“Last year, we weren’t really coaching,” DeChellis said. “We were just managing what we had.”

From former coach Jerry Dunn, who was dismissed after a seven-win season in 2002-03, DeChellis inherited a group of inexperienced players and a few malcontents.

There were only two scholarship guards, both true freshmen. The big man was a gangly German who preferred shooting clunkers from beyond the arc to mixing it up under the basket.

By the end of the season, a couple of unhappy veterans had departed, the big man was openly courting scouts from European leagues, and a walk-on with a surgically repaired eye was the team’s most exciting player.

“In the long term, all that (turmoil) probably was a good thing,” DeChellis said. “Because we found out who wants to be here.”

AP: If Marlon Smith and Ben Luber looked a little tired at the end of last…

If Marlon Smith and Ben Luber looked a little tired at the end of last year, if their jump shots didn’t have quite the arc, or their drop-step wasn’t quite as quick, they had a good excuse. Smith spent less than 80 seconds of each game on the bench last year; Luber, less than a minute.

A rash of midseason departures and a shortage of available bodies left Penn State unable to run the up-tempo offense favored by coach Ed DeChellis. But a deep recruiting class has gone a long way toward fixing that problem

“We’re way more athletic than we’ve ever been before. I’m more athletic than I’ve ever been before,” forward Aaron Johnson said. “We’re way faster. We’re way stronger. I just think it’s going to be a different team you’re looking at this year.”

Collegian: Lions hope to thrive off transition

Ed DeChellis has been through it. Aaron Johnson is stuck in the middle of it. And both are guiding the Nittany Lions through this transition period, fazing out the Jerry Dunn persona and embarking on the DeChellis era.

Reform is nothing new to the second-year Penn State men’s basketball coach. DeChellis landed his first head-coaching job at East Tennessee State University, where he was greeted with a 7-20 Buccaneer squad. Seven years and three conference divisional winners, a conference tournament champ, and an NCAA tournament team later, DeChellis’ resume garnered considerable attention.

DeChellis was offered two or three positions before patience again paid off for the 1982 Penn State graduate. He held out just long enough for the Lions’ head-coaching job to open up with the resignation of Jerry Dunn in March 2003. DeChellis was welcomed back to the Lions squad, this time as a head coach, after a previously successful 10-year stint as an assistant. DeChellis would be treated to a struggling 7-21 squad. But why start from scratch again?

“I think number one is it’s my alma mater and I love Penn State, and I always felt like we should be as good as anybody else in the country in basketball,” he said. “You want to coach at the highest level and challenge yourself.”

Sports Info: Jamelle Cornley LOI is in

State College, Pa. – November 10, 2004 – The Penn State Nittany Lion basketball team will have the services of one of the top high school players in the state of Ohio as Jamelle Cornley (Columbus, Ohio) has signed a national letter of intent to continue his academic and athletic careers at Penn State next year.

Cornley, a native of Columbus, Ohio, has been a three-year player at powerful Brookhaven High School. At 6-6, 235 pounds, Cornley will bring a physical, muscular frame with him from the basketball-rich Columbus area. A superb talent, Cornley was one of three players tabbed by Associated Press as Co-Ohio High School Players of the Year last season.

“We’re very excited to have a player of Jamelle’s quality join the Penn State basketball family,” Nittany Lion head coach Ed DeChellis said. “He is a warrior on the basketball floor, strong and energetic. Two of the aspects of Jamelle’s game that are so intriguing are his power and enthusiasm. He comes from an outstanding high school program and I believe he is a perfect fit for our system. We’re elated he will be a Nittany Lion next season.”

Sunbury Daily Item: DeChellis trying to rebuild by staying in state

DeChellis trying to rebuild by staying in state – November 11, 2004

STATE COLLEGE — Mike Walker seemed at ease while answering what seemed like an endless amount of questions during his first media day at Bryce Jordan Center.

He also seemed comfortable not being the center of attention — at least not for now.

Second-year head coach Ed DeChellis knew one of the keys to returning Penn State University men’s basketball to prominence was signing some of the Keystone State’s top talent.

And Walker fits the picture to a tee.

How do new coaches fare?

UncleLar has looked at the performance of teams that have hired a new coach in the last two years.

His information, originally posted on the forum, showed that only three of the 45 coaches who took over in 2000-2001 have had two winning seasons. Only nine coaches took their teams from a losing season to a winning season in two years.

These are from UncleLar posts on the forum March 15, 2003:

I looked at the record one and two years out using the list of coaching changes following the 2000-01 season.

That year there were 45 coaching changes. Again, more new coaches had a positive impact than a negative (25 vs 20) in year one.

18 coaches had a non-losing record one year out.

22 coaches had a non-losing record two years out.

11 coaches had non-losing records both years.

Only four coaches took a team from a losing record to a winning record in one year.

Only nine coaches took a team from a losing record to a winning record in two years.

Only three coaches took a team from a losing record to two consecutive winning records (Rick Pitino, Bob Knight, and Kevin Bromley).

People who expect immediate winning from a new coach at PSU need to, in the immortal words of Joe Paterno, reset their expectations.

The hypothesis that I wanted to test was that a new coach would give their new team an immediate boost that would show up in year one (in both years that I looked at, that turned out to be true – 25 vs 20 in this test group, 25 vs 17 in the other), which would be followed by a drop in year two. The results bore me out. Of the 25 coaches that showed a positive impact in year one, 14 fell back in the second year. Only 11 managed to sustain their year one results in year two.

There were four categories that a coach could fall into. Positive results from one year to the next in both years, negative in both, postive year one but negative year two, and negative year one but positive year two.

Here’s how the 45 coaches break out.

Plus/plus (11)

Plus/minus (14)

Minus/plus (10)

Minus/minus (10)

I don’t know if it’s statistically significant but my theory seems to hold.

So, if we hire a new coach and follow the trend, we should get better next year (though not reaching .500) but follow that with a slide backward in year two.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what the fans’ expectations are and my bet is that if this were to happen the bulletin boards would be rampant with “we made the wrong choice” posts.

Here’s the details:

SCHOOL WHO’S OUT (W/L) WHO’S IN (Yr 1 W/L) (Yr2 W/L) +/- +/-

Positive/Positive (11)

Northern Illinois B. Hammel (4-22) Rob Judson (12-16) (17-13) +14 +8

Louisville Denny Crum (12-19) Rick Pitino (18-12) (22-6) +13 +10

St. Mary’s (Calif.) David Bollwinkel (1-25) Randy Bennett (8-20) (14-15) +12 +11

Texas Southern Robert Moreland (7-22) Byron Smith (11-17) (16-12) +9 +10

UNLV Bill Bayno (14-13) Charlie Spoonhour (20-10) (20-9) +9 +1

Florida A&M; Mickey Clayton (6-22) Mike Gillespie (9-19) (17-11) +6 +16

Xavier Skip Prosser (21-7) Thad Matta (25-5) (25-4) +6 +1

Rhode Island Jerry DeGregorio (7-22) Jim Baron (8-20) (18-11) +3 +19

Old Dominion Jeff Capel (12-17) Blaine Taylor (13-16) (12-15) +2 0

Michigan Brian Ellerbe (9-18) Tommy Amaker (10-18) (17-12) +1 +13

Wis.-Milwaukee Bo Ryan (13-13) Bruce Pearl (13-13) (23-7) 0 +16


Positive/Negative (14)

Texas Tech James Dickey (9-19) Bob Knight (23-8) (17-11) +25 -9

North Texas Vic Trilli (2-24) Johnny Jones (13-14) (5-21) +21 – 15

Northern Iowa Sam Weaver (6-24) Greg McDermott (14-15) (10-17) +17 -6

Idaho David Farrar (4-21) Leonard Perry (8-9) (12-15) +16 -2

Cal Poly-SLO Jeff Schneider (5-18) Kevin Bromley (14-12) (14-13) +15 -1

Rutgers Kevin Bannon (11-16) Gary Waters (18-12) (12-16) +11 -2

Robert Morris Danny Nee (7-22) Mark Schmidt (12-18) (9-17) +9 -2

Tulsa Buzz Peterson (21-11) John Phillips (25-6) (20-9) +9 -8

Butler Thad Matta (21-7) Todd Lickliter (25-5) (24-5) +6 -1

La Salle William “Speedy” Morris (12-17) Billy Hahn (15-17) (12-17) +3 -3

Duquesne Darelle Porter (9-21) Danny Nee (9-19) (9-21) +2 -2

South Carolina Eddie Fogler (15-14) Dave Odom (17-14) (12-16) +2 -7

George Washington Tom Penders (14-18) Karl Hobbs (12-16) (12-17) 0 -1

Pepperdine Jan van Breda Kolff (21-8) Paul Westphal (21-8) (15-13) 0 -11


Negative/Positive (10)

Wake Forest Dave Odom (19-10) Skip Prosser (20-12) (23-4) -1 +11

Wisconsin Dick Bennett (18-10) Bo Ryan (17-12) (22-6) -3 +11

Denver Martin Fletcher (8-18) Terry Carroll (7-20) (17-15) -3 +15

Drexel Steve (15-12) Seymour Bruiser Flint (14-15) (18-11) -4 +8

Morgan State (6-23) Chris Fuller Butch Beard (3-25) (7-22) -5 +7

Northeastern Rudy Keeling (10-19) Ron Everhart (7-21) (14-15) -5 +13

Portland Rob Chavez (8-17) Michael Holton (6-24) (10-17) -9 +11

Seton Hall Tommy Amaker (16-14) Louis Orr (11-18) (17-12) -9 +12

Siena Louis Orr (19-11) Rob Lanier (16-18) (19-10) -10 +11

Tennessee Jerry Green (22-10) Buzz Peterson (14-16) (17-10) -14 +9


Negative/Negative (10)

McNeese State Ron Everhart (21-8) Tic Price (20-8) (13-14) -1 -13

Ohio Larry Hunter (18-11) Tim O’Shea (17-11) (14-15) -1 -7

Villanova Steve Lappas (18-12) Jay Wright (17-12) (15-15) -1 -5

Towson Mike Jaskulski (12-17) Michael Hunt (11-18) (4-24) -2 -13

St. Bonaventure Jim Baron (18-11) Jan van Breda Kolff (17-12) (13-14) -2 -6

Massachusetts James “Bruiser” Flint (15-15) Steve Lappas (13-16) (10-18) -3 -3

New Orleans Joey Stiebing (15-12) Monte Towe (14-14) (13-14) -3 -1

Southern Tommy Green (11-16) Ben Jobe (7-19) (7-20) -7 -1

Stetson Murray Arnold (15-12) Derek Waugh (9-16) (6-20) -10 -7

Hofstra Jay Wright (26-4) Tom Pecora (12-20) (8-21) -30 -5

Note: I choose to view a “no change” result from one year to the next as a positive one rather than a negative. Continuing on the positive theme, I considered a .500 season as a winning one rather than a losing one.


I looked at the 42 coaching changes last year. What I did was calculate the change in their +/- rate, i.e. wins minus losses (Division I wins only).

25 coaches improved, 17 slipped.

Just 13 coaches had a winning record.

Only 5 of those took them from a losing record to a winning record.

Here’s the complete list, ranked from greatest positive change to biggest negative. Props to Bill Taylor at Lehigh for one unbelievable season, taking the Moutain Hawks from 4-23 to 14-12.

Some familiar names from Tim’s list in the top ten – John Pelphrey, John Beilein, and Jeff Lebo.

School Former Coach (record) New Coach (record) Change

1. Lehigh Sal Mentesana (4-23) Bill Taylor (14-12) +21

2. Liberty Mel Hankinson (3-24) Randy Dunton (14-15) +20

3. Prairie View A&M; Elwood Plummer (9-19) Jerry Francis (17-11) +16

4. DePaul Pat Kennedy (9-19) Dave Leitao (16-12) +14

5. South Alabama Bob Weltlich (5-20) John Pelphrey (12-14) +13

6. West Virginia Gale Catlett (7-20) John Beilein (14-15) +12

7T. UAB Murry Bartow (13-17) Mike Anderson (17-11) +10

7T Evansville Jim Crews (7-21) Steve Merfeld (12-16) +10

7T. Chattanooga Henry Dickerson (14-14) Jeff Lebo (19-9) +10

10T. Fresno State Jerry Tarkanian (18-14) Ray Lopes (20-8) +8

10T. Norfolk State Wil Jones (10-19) Dwight Freeman (14-15) +8

12. LIU Ray Martin (5-22) Jim Ferry (9-19) +7

13T. Wofford Richard Johnson (7-18) Mike Young (10-15) +6

13T. Florida State Steve Robinson (11-17) Leonard Hamilton (14-14) +6

15T. College of Charleston (20-8) John Kresse Tom Herrion (22-7) +5

15T. Saint Louis Lorenzo Romar (15-16) Brad Sodderberg (16-12) +5

15T. UNC-Wilmington Jerry Wainwright (22-9) Brad Brownell (24-6) +5

18T. Arkansas-Pine Bluff Harold Blevins (2-26) Van Holt* (4-24) +4

18T. Bradley Jim Molinari (9-20) Jim Les (11-18) +4

18T. Oregon State Ritchie McKay (9-17) Jay John (12-15) +4

21. Middle Tennessee Randy Wiel ( 12-15) Kermit Davis Jr. (14-14) +3

22. UW-Green Bay Mike Heideman (9-21) Tod Kowalczyk (9-19) +2

23T. Washington Bob Bender (10-18) Lorenzo Romar (10-17) +1

23T. Boise State Rod Jensen (12-17) Greg Graham (12-16) +1

23T. Nicholls State Rickey Broussard (1-25) Ricky Blanton (2-25) +1


26. VCU Mack McCarthy (20-11) Jeff Capel (18-10) -1

27. Albany Scott Beeten (8-20) Will Brown (7-21) -2

28T. Richmond John Beilen (19-13) Jerry Wainwright (15-13) -4

28T. Montana Don Holst (14-14) Pat Kennedy (12-16) -4

30. San Jose State Steve Barnes (9-20) Phil Johnson (5-21) -5

31. Radford Ron Bradley (14-16) Byron Samuels (10-20) -6

32. Valparaiso Homer Drew (24-7) Scott Drew (20-10) -7

33T. Arkansas Nolan Richardson (14-15) Stan Heath (9-19) -8

33T. Bethune-Cookman Horace Broadnax (11-17) Clifford Reed (8-22) -8

35. TCU Billy Tubbs (14-15) Neil Dougherty (9-19) -9

36T. Kent State Stan Heath (26-5) Jim Christian (19-8) -10

36T. Tennessee Tech Jeff Lebo (21-6) Mike Sutton (17-12) -10

38. Hampton Steve Merfeld (25-6) Bobby Collins* (18-10) -11

39T. Long Beach State Wayne Morgan (11-17) Larry Reynolds (4-22) -12

39T. Portland State Joel Sobotka (11-16) Heath Schroyer (4-21) -12

41. Army Pat Harris (10-16) Jim Crews (3-22) -13

42. New Mexico Fran Fraschilla (16-13) Ritchie McKay (9-18) -18