Penn State hires VCU's Mike Rhoades as next basketball coach
Penn State has found its next men’s basketball coach.
After losing Micah Shrewsberry to Notre Dame, the school announced Wednesday that it has hired VCU’s Mike Rhoades as its new head coach. Rhoades agreed to a seven-year deal with an average salary of $3.7 million. He will be introduced on Thursday afternoon.
Rhoades is a Pennsylvania native who brought VCU to three of the last four NCAA tournaments. In all, he had a six-year run coaching the Rams and amassed a 129-61 record with two Atlantic 10 regular season titles and an A10 tournament title.
Rhoades’ best two seasons at VCU came in 2019 and this most recent season. In 2019, the Rams went 25-8 with a 16-2 mark in conference play. This year, VCU finished 27-8 with a 15-3 A10 record. However, VCU lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament in both seasons. VCU also made the NCAA tournament in 2021 but could not play its first-round game due to positive COVID-19 tests within the program.
"We are excited to welcome Mike Rhoades as our head men's basketball coach," Penn State athletic director Pat Kraft said. "He is a veteran head coach who is a proven winner at multiple levels. Mike has been a tremendous recruiter and talent developer throughout his career."
Before becoming head coach at VCU, Rhoades spent 10 seasons as the head coach at Randolph-Macon, a Division III program in Virginia. From there he had a six-year run as a VCU assistant under Shaka Smart and then spent three seasons as the head coach at Rice.
Rhoades’ VCU teams were known to play an aggressive style of defense. That will be a stark contrast from the way PSU played in 2023 under Shrewsberry. PSU spaced the floor and relied heavily on 3-point shooting and ended up earning an invitation to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011 (PSU would have made the tournament in 2020 had it not been canceled). The Nittany Lions blasted SEC runner-up Texas A&M in the first round before losing a close one to Texas in the Round of 32. The win over A&M was PSU’s first NCAA tournament win since 2001.
Once he arrives at Penn State, Rhoades is looking at a complete reboot of the roster. PSU had five fifth-year seniors on its roster. Additionally, senior Seth Lundy opted to declare for the NBA draft rather than use his extra year of eligibility and four others have hit the transfer portal. Two of those were 2022 recruits signed by Shrewsberry, two others were little-used reserves from the 2020 class.
"It's with great honor and excitement to be Penn State's men's basketball head coach," Rhoades said. "We will be bold, different and aggressive moving our program forward. We will play with great energy and excitement while always being relentless in our pursuit of making this basketball family into something special. I can't wait to get to work."
VCU already lining up Rhoades’ replacement?
With Rhoades off to PSU, it looks like VCU already has made progress on hiring his replacement.
According to multiple reports, VCU is expected to bring in Ryan Odom from Utah State. Odom is most known for his time at UMBC when his team upset top seed Virginia as a No. 16 seed in the 2018 NCAA tournament. Odom spent five seasons at UMBC and has been at Utah State for the past two years and amassed a 44-25 record with the Aggies. USU went 26-9 and reached the NCAA tournament this season.
Odom’s name has come up throughout the coaching carousel with reports surfacing that he had eyes on returning to the East Coast. Odom is a North Carolina native who had stops at Furman, UNC Asheville, American, Virginia Tech and Charlotte before becoming a head coach. He was first at Division II Lenoir-Rhyne before moving over to UMBC and later Utah State.
Now Odom is on the verge of landing arguably the best job in the Atlantic 10.
VCU will be hiring Utah State coach Ryan Odom, sources told CBS Sports. A deal is not yet done, but the transition is not expected to take long. VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin has a longstanding relationship with Odom and, per sources, made overtures earlier this week.
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) March 29, 2023