A nearly two week search finally yielded fruit for Penn State basketball Friday evening when the school announced it has hired Boston University's Patrick Chambers as its next head coach. Chambers will replace the departed Ed DeChellis, who left the Nittany Lions for a position at Navy last Monday.
A longtime assistant under Jay Wright at Big East powehouse Villanova, Chambers coached the BU Terriers the last two seasons, compiling a 42-28 record in Boston. This past season, BU won the America East championship and represented that league as a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Chambers grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Philadelphia University for college. His time in the Eastern PA has helped him forge strong recruiting ties there, ties Penn State, which has historically struggled snagging prospects from the talent rich city and its suburbs, desperately needs.
The Nittany Lions' new leader appears confident and ready take over the ship, telling ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil...
"I think (the program) is a sleeping giant, in my mind," Chambers said. "They have everything they need. They have more than Villanova had. Everything that they need to be a successful program is there. Ed did a great job and I think there isn't much for me to change. I just hope that maybe I can bring that new energy, that passion to the program."
Chambers was a finalist for the job along with Duquesne coach Ron Everhart and Milwaukee coach Rob Jeter. Everhart removed his name from consideration on Thursday night, however, and Jeter followed on Friday afternoon, leaving the path wide open for Chambers to assume control of the program.
He now faces the task of leading a talented but very young Penn State squad beginning in 2011-2012. The Lions will return just one starter from 2010, point guard Tim Frazier, and will play with a roster composed mostly of freshman and sophomores.
His challenge will be to develop a roster full of DeChellis recruits before heading out on the recruiting trail, where he hopes to draw recruits from all over the Northeast, as he tells David Jones of the Harrisburg Patriot-News.
"We are going to get into Philadelphia," said Chambers. "We're gonna recruit Philadelphia hard.
"But we're gonna recruit Jersey hard. We're gonna recruit New York hard. We're gonna recruit D.C. hard. Wherever the players are that fit The Penn State Way, that's where we're gonna be."
And so begins a new era of Penn State basketball. Most expect the road to be bumpy at first with such inexperience permeating the 2012 roster. However, fans who hope to see the Lions make the jump to the next level finally have a glimmer of hope in Pat Chambers.