Did PSU's tourney bid save Ed DeChellis?

It wasn't long ago that Ed DeChellis was sitting on very warm seat.

A month into last season, Black Shoe Diaries polled it's readers about DeChellis, and found that 94 percent were ready to give him the hook. A full 50 percent didn't even want to see him finish the year. 

But problems with Ed DeChellis's performance are nothing new.

Going into the 2010-11 season, Frat House Sports said DeChellis's job was in jeopardy. On March 17, 2008, Coaches Hot Seat Basketball Blog listed him as number five on its hot seat rankings. 

With last season's NCAA tournament bid, though, DeChellis seems to have bought himself at least another year or two. 

"There is no doubt the NCAA bid has saved his job," Wade Vanlandingham, of Penn State Central, said. "He can now say he got us to the postseason two of the last three seasons. But personally, I think this year is going to be another cellar finish for the Nittany Lions. So while I don't think his seat is hot now, it will be again quickly."

That seems to be the consensus among State fans.

"I think he's safe for at least two years," Adam Bittner, of both BSD and Big Ten Powerhouse, said. "The NCAA tournament bought him whatever hell rains down upon Happy Valley in 2012 with all the underclassmen. And as long as Penn State doesn't suck in 2013, I think they'll keep him around to take a legit shot at a tournament run in 2014 with a veteran squad."

But critics say it's easy to see why DeChellis still has a job.

"Talor Battle is no doubt the only reason DeChellis is still coach at Penn State," Vanlandingham said.

Arguably the best player in the history of PSU basketball, Battle Battle was the first player in Big Ten history to score 2,000 points, grab 500 rebounds and dish 500 assists. Before he got there, PSU finished eighth, 10th and dead last in the conference. 

Battle led the Lions to a pair of fourth place finishes, an NCAA tournament bid and the 2009 NIT championship. 

It's just a whisper, but others say the reason DeChellis is still coach is because when all the chips are on the table, Penn State just doesn't care all that much about basketball. 

"Before the Big Ten Network, the only way to watch the team consistently was to go to the games. PSU rarely got on TV and for a fan base scattered all over the Northeast, that's a problem," Bittner said. "You can't sustain interest if people can't see your games."

Vanlandingham says Lion Nation just wants to see a winner, citing the 6,000-plus wrestling attendance numbers and the crowds at the Bryce Jordan Center for big games.

"Obviously, compared to football basketball does not even register," he said. "(But) there is no doubt to me that if Penn State put a competitive team on the court year-in and year-out, fans would come in mass."

 

Read Wade Vanlandingham at www.pennstatecentral.com. Check out Black Shoe Diaries at www.blackshoediaries.com

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