At 4:27 today, J. Schnauzer sent me a text that made me smile. It read: “Oh happy day!” At first, I didn’t know what that meant. Then all of a sudden, my phone exploded with tweets and texts. I couldn’t believe my eyes- Ed DeChellis was leaving Penn State! Oh happy day, indeed!!!
Now that Ed is out of my life, I can resume going to men’s basketball games. Ever since we moved back to State College, my wife and I only attended men’s games in which the tickets were free. We would be damned if a penny of our hard-earned money went to Ed DeChellis. (I understand that’s not exactly how it works, but it made us feel better about ourselves)
Please allow me to explain my position...
I don’t hate Ed DeChellis the guy. I’ve only seen him in person once. I don’t know him at all. He could be the ideal drinking buddy. Or he could kick puppies every time the Pirates lose a game. I don’t know either way.
What I do know is that he had a job to do and he did it poorly. And he was compensated quite handsomely to fail so miserably. In that regard, I will always be jealous of him. If I blogged as effectively as he coached, my sentences would read something like- “Penn State is a great xhkihv zsdhsf snsf adfsds adfssdf.” If I performed my day job as well as him, I would not have lasted a year. Let alone eight.
But jealousy isn’t the reason I hated seeing his stoic mug on Penn State’s sidelines. His inability to recruit reasonable players never made me lose a minute of sleep. Ed’s timid approach to referees didn’t make my stomach turn. What drove me nuts was that he was hired in the first place.
The absolute laziness, incompetence, and stupidity that surrounded Penn State’s “national search” following Jerry Dunn’s long overdue boot was nauseating. Just like the text I received today, I will never forget the call from my father as I got home from work on a clear April day in 2003. His tone was somber. The message was simple. “Guess who we hired? Sigh.”
I don’t expect a historically downtrodden basketball program like Penn State to win overnight. And I certainly don’t want them to cheat or resort to dirty tactics to become a winner. I do, however, expect Penn State to try to win. Which is exactly what they did not do when its “national search” covered all of two candidates, one of which had ties to this moribund program. Ed walked into the interview with a small price tag and a Penn State diploma. What was good enough for Tim Curley was a slap in the face of the few fans the basketball team had.
Keeping Ed despite poor results after three years, four years, five years… was even more insulting. It said, “Our fans are so stupid that they’ll keep paying for this crap. Why should we exert any effort into improving our product?” Plus, it’s not like the administration treated us to good non-conference opponents. I don’t care how bad we would have gotten waxed, I would have strongly considered lifting my self-imposed BJC ban to see a team like Duke, Kansas, or Arizona show up. It is nothing short of arrogance that we won’t offer a 1-for-2 series (or even a 1-for-3) with a power program just to get some fans into our sterile facility.
I realize that firing Ed after four years would have elicited “we didn’t give him enough time” responses. Considering the pathetic state that Jerry Dunn left the Nittany Lions in, that would certainly have been a valid claim. But a “quick” hook (and in college basketball, 4 years is an eternity) for Ed would have sent an impressive message to the fans. It would have been a strong admission of fault for a lousy hire. It would have said that the administration was indeed trying to win, and was not content merely turning a profit. It would have marked the first time that Penn State basketball fans would have seen an actual piece of evidence that the Athletic Department cares about them.
And so here we are. The Naval Academy took Ed away from us, which means that we will never know if our Athletic Department ever would have had the decency to get rid of him. We will never know when the “cheap alumnus” vs. “lousy coach” pendulum would have swung in favor of Ed’s dismissal.
What we will know, and thankfully sooner rather than later, is how committed to establishing a winning program our administration is. Perhaps, more importantly- do they give a damn about us fans?
Enjoy this post? Follow me on Twitter for instant updates @RowlffDogg