STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Penn State chose Boston University’s Pat Chambers to take over the Nittany Lions basketball program, capping a whirlwind coaching search following the surprise departure of Ed DeChellis.
A posting on the website for Boston University announced the move late Friday afternoon, confirmed soon afterward by Penn State.
“Penn State basketball begins a new era today,” Nittany Lions athletic director Tim Curley said in a statement, “and Patrick Chambers ushers in that era with proven success, an appreciation of and commitment to Penn State ideals, and the energy and enthusiasm required to compete at the highest level.”
Chambers, a 40-year-old former Villanova assistant, led the Terriers to their first America East title and NCAA tournament in nine seasons this spring. Boston lost in the second round to Kansas.
He is 42-28 since joining the Terriers in 2009. Chambers last month signed an extension that would have kept him at Boston through 2015-16.
Now, he moves up to a power conference program, though Penn State historically has had trouble stringing together winning seasons and attracting top recruits. A news conference was scheduled Monday to formally introduce Chambers in Happy Valley.
“I’m looking forward to bringing passion, energy and enthusiasm to Nittany Lion basketball,” Chambers said in a statement. “We will play a style, and bring an attitude, that Nittany Nation can be proud of.”
An athletic department spokesman said terms of the deal were confidential. An open records report released last week by Penn State showed DeChellis earned nearly $807,000 in compensation in 2010.
A Philadelphia-area native, Chambers heads back to his home state as Penn State coach more than a week after DeChellis left his alma mater to take the same job at Navy. The move took Curley by surprise, coming at an odd point in the basketball calendar when most schools have their coaching staffs in place ready for recruiting.
Curley received advice on the search from former Vanderbilt and South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler. Chambers was among the most notable names mentioned as a potential candidate early on, along with Milwaukee’s Rob Jeter and Duquesne’s Ron Everhart.
Born in Pittsburgh, Jeter had Big Ten ties from his days as an assistant for Bo Ryan at Wisconsin. Jeter issued a statement through a team spokesman earlier Friday that he was looking forward to next year with the Panthers.
“Out of respect for Penn State, the Big Ten and Eddie Fogler, and as someone who has coached in the Big Ten, I listened to what they had to say,” Jeter said. “But ultimately I continue to be very excited to be here in Milwaukee coaching my guys next season.”
Everhart withdrew his name from consideration on Thursday night after interviewing earlier this week.
By Friday morning, it became evident Chambers would be the pick.
He was known at Boston for implementing an up-tempo offense while keeping a focus on defense. Boston this past season was ranked 23rd in the nation in field goal defense at 39.9 percent.
But the Big Ten will be a step up in competition.
Chambers’ Philadelphia ties could help in the region’s fertile recruiting grounds. He joined Jay Wright’s staff at Villanova in 2004 as director of operations before becoming an assistant the following season, then became associate head coach in 2008.
Chambers also played college ball under Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee, who is part of this year’s class at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Chambers served as an assistant at his alma mater from 2001-04 under Magee.
DeChellis stepped down last week following eight seasons to take over the Midshipmen in the Patriot League. His resignation came two months following the Nittany Lions’ first NCAA appearance in a decade, a second-round, 66-64 loss to Temple.