A lack of basketball pedigree and an unwillingness to spend lavishly on its program likely prevented Penn State from landing a marquee head coach, but the Nittany Lions appear to be close to reeling in an up-and-coming candidate.
Boston University coach Patrick Chambers has been offered the Penn State job and is considering whether to accept, The Harrisburg Patriot-News reported Friday. Chambers, 39, led the Terriers to the NCAA tournament last March and compiled a 42-28 record in two seasons with the program.
The appeal of Chambers stems mostly from his recruiting ties to Philadelphia and New England, two regions the Nittany Lions must draw from if they're going to be successful in the Big Ten. Chambers spent five years at Villanova from 2004 to 2009 as both director of basketball operations and as an assistant coach, enabling him to build strong relationships with high school and club coaches in the city.
What has made recruiting Philadelphia difficult for Penn State in the past is that prospects there often grow up watching the Big East and not the Big Ten. Nonetheless, Chambers would appear to have a better chance of making inroads there than most of the other candidates who were under consideration.
It's very important for Penn State that Chambers ultimately accepts the job because there aren't many viable options left. East Carolina's Jeff Lebo and Duquesne's Ron Everhart withdrew from consideration already this week and Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Rob Jeter followed suit on Friday, though his decision may have been a result of catching wind that Penn State was prepared to offer Chambers the job.
Chambers would inherit one of the nation's most challenging major-conference jobs and one of the Big Ten's most threadbare rosters. Penn State graduated stars Talor Battle and Jeff Brooks off last season's surprise NCAA tournament team, meaning next year's team will have an almost entirely new look.