Each of the last two Mondays I got a text message I never expected.
One really surprised me and the other, well, not so much.
Both of them were very short and to the point. They are the texts I like. The other day I was driving and I got a text, so my wife read it, asked what to respond. I told her — short and sweet — and then she asked if I wanted an apostrophe and a hyphen. If I spell half the words correctly in a text, I’m pretty stoked.
Punctuation? Uh, no.
Anyway, that’s getting away from my original point.
Both were short, The first — DeChellis to Navy — just floored me. The other – Tressel resigns — didn’t.
Let’s start with the stunner: Penn State men’s hoops coach Ed DeChellis leaving to replace Billy Lange at Navy. Lange left Annapolis to join Bucknell grad Jay Wright at Villanova.
Now anyone who knows even a little about Penn State knows men’s basketball has always been treated like a red-headed stepchild to Joe Paterno’s football team.
That’s not to say Paterno doesn’t want to see the basketball players succeed — he was one of the team’s visible supporters in the run to the NIT crown a couple of years ago — but as long as they play football at Penn State, men’s basketball is going to be in the shadows.
There have been glimpses for each of the last three coaches, Bruce Parkhill, Jerry Dunn and DeChellis.
But there was never the foothold.
Even when the Bryce Jordan Center opened, along with hopes that a first-class facility would bring in topflight recruits, things never took off.
Now, with Cael Sanderson taking the Penn State wrestling team to the NCAA title in just his second year, some of the best volleyball teams in the nation and the arrival of men’s hockey — and a multi-million dollar arena — there is a distinct possibility the program might slip even further into obscurity.
The timing might seem odd for DeChellis bolting. He just took the Nittany Lions to the NCAA tournament after a great run to the Big Ten Tournament final. But when you think about it, the timing was probably perfect.
First off, the cupboard is going to be pretty bare in State College next winter and DeChellis’ seat was probably pretty hot entering this year.
After not taking PSU to the tournament in his first seven years, DeChellis probably saved his job with the wins in the conference tournament.
He knew that. And with chances that the Lions take another step backward next year, and the fact that Penn State’s men’s basketball team might never be a top-tier program, DeChellis probably split before he got shoved out.
That’s not all that surprising.
The most surprising aspect of the story is that he’s going to Navy. The number of coaches who would leave a Big Ten program for one at a mid-major can probably be counted on one hand.
He’s going to take a huge hit in salary to coach at a place that might be as difficult to coach as Penn State.
First off, there is no question Navy is a good job. But it’s a tough job because, while you know everyone of the kids you are getting will define high character, you also have to sell them on the military service as well. You really have to recruit them three ways: As a student, a soldier and — probably lastly — a basketball player.
That’s tough. But maybe, after eight years in Happy Valley, it was a challenge DeChellis was ready for.
Now for yesterday’s text about the resignation of Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. Can’t say I was at all stunned because the bloodhounds have been tracking Tressel for a while now. As more and more info seeped out about the program, more and more black marks landed on Tressel’s lap.
The thing that wows me the most is if Tressel had initially reported five of his players were selling memorabilia, the players get suspended and the coach gets to keep his pristine rep. But, like Watergate, the cover-up was way worse than the crime.
Tressel told the NCAA he had no knowledge of any wrong-doing last fall. When it got out he did, chips started to fall and the last fell with the resignation because Tressel violated one of the Cardinal rules when it comes to NCAA investigations: Don’t lie to us.
NCAA investigators now are closing in — a hearing is schedule for August — and you know they have to be looking back a couple of years. Remember, Tressel and the Buckeyes had issues with Maurice Clarett and Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith previously.
I understand that college football coaches have more than 100 players and it’s tough for them to keep track of every one of them every single minute. But an issue lands on your desk and your star quarterback is involved, take care of it. Sure, it’s going to hurt to suspend him, but not as much as it will to lose your gig.
— Sports editor Bill Bowman covers college sports for The Daily Item. E-mail comments to bbowman@ dailyitem.com or following him at twitter.com/ williambbowman.
Each of the last two Mondays I got a text message I never expected.
College wrestling: Bucknell junior makes school history
Bucknell grappler Joe Stolfi made history this weekend at the EIWA championships. Not once, but twice.
College wrestling: Penn State claims Big Ten title
A strong, balanced performance helped the Penn State wrestling team claim its fourth straight Big Ten championship on Sunday, sparked by two historic individual champions.
Men's basketball: Minnesota defeats Penn State
Austin Hollins had 14 points and three steals in his last scheduled home game, a fitting senior spark for Minnesota in an 81-63 victory over Penn State on Sunday to set up a rematch between these teams in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.
H.S. swimming: Seven area swimmers headed to states
Mifflinburg’s Adriana Grabski has plenty of gold medals — seven district and four state to be precise — but the senior will eye up another two to round out her illustrius high school swimming career at the 2014 PIAA Swimming and Diving Championships in the Girls AA finals, which begins Friday at Bucknell University.
This is The Item: Sara Naessig and Becca Alberti
Girls basketball: Mifflinburg falls in first round
If she had played it by the book, Kelly Griffith would have emptied her bench late in Saturday’s game and given the Mifflinburg reserves some token state playoff time.
Boys basketball: Lewisburg falls on buzzer-beater
Lewisburg’s Jesse Flannery just laid on the court looking up, as if hoping maybe, just maybe, the basket didn’t just happen.
AAA Wrestling: Shikellamy's Pepper takes fifth in the state
Saturday was a memorable day for Shikellamy wrestling fans.
Girls basketball: Bower girls lead Millville past Upper Dauphin
Like a sprinter, Maci Bower exploded forward with her finish line in sight at the other end of the floor.
Girls basketball: Scranton Prep's pressure is too much for Danville
Scranton Prep’s pressure defense often prevented Danville from getting its offense started.
AA state wrestling: All 3 Southern wrestlers take silver
Blake Marks knows what is is like to win in sudden and dramatic fashion. He did it Friday night in the PIAA Class AA 152-pound semifinals.
AA state wrestling: 3 Southern Tigers march into finals
The Lane family had all the makings of a family reunion to be held today in the Giant Center in Hershey.
Girls basketball: Mount Carmel prevails behind big fourth quarter
To hear her mother explain it, Ali Varano hates to lose more than she wants to win. That’s just how the Mount Carmel senior is wired.
Wrestling: Shikellamy's Pepper still has shot at 3rd place
Dwayne Pepper grudgingly admitted that he has a reason to smile.
Girls basketball: Warrior Run falls to Dunmore in first round of states
At a time when her teammates were struggling offensively, Steph Shamburg took one last shot at extending the Warrior Run season and the most productive scoring career in program history.
LIVE updates from PIAA wrestling
The Daily Item will post updates throughout the day from the PIAA Wrestling Championships on Friday
- More Sports Headlines
- College wrestling: Bucknell junior makes school history