It’s been quite a whirlwind for Penn State fans over the last few weeks. The Nittany Lions went on an impressive postseason run, making it to the Big Ten Tournament championship game and scoring a lopsided in in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately, the program then found itself looking for a head coach after Micah Shrewsberry left town for the Notre Dame opening. It was the highs and lows of the sport in a few weeks.
The good news is Penn State got back on the right track this week, hiring former VCU head coach Mike Rhoades to take over. Rhoades had plenty of success with the Rams, taking VCU to the NCAA Tournament in three of the last five seasons. Two of his squads also achieved top 50 finishes on KenPom, an impressive feat for a program like VCU.
With his hiring, the question became what Rhoades would do next and that usually comes with the completion of the coaching staff. Well, fans learned about those steps this week, as Penn State announced the following additions:
- Jamal Brunt – Associate Head Coach
- J.D. Byers – Assistant Coach
- Brent Scott – Assistant Coach
- Jimmy Martelli – Chief of Staff
- Joe Crispin – Assistant to the Head Coach
It’s a talented group with plenty of experience. You can read their full backgrounds here. Brunt, Byers, Scott, and Martelli all follow Rhoades from VCU and Crispin arrives with NBA and head coaching experience. Crispin also knows Penn State’s program well, having been a four-year starter for the Nittany Lions in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Crispin should have the background and expertise so Rhoades and his crew can hit the ground running.
Overall, Penn State fans are likely still recovering from Shrewsberry’s quick departure. It’s always tough to see a coach with that much talent leave so quickly. However, Rhoades has an impressive pedigree and is adding a talented staff. We’ll see how it goes.