UNIVERSITY PARK, PA (WTAJ) — Penn State head men’s basketball coach Mike Rhoades and Dorothy Gale have something in common: both agree that there’s no place like home. Dorothy was looking for Kansas, and Rhoades Pennsylvania. After 6 years in charge at VCU, the Schuylkill county native is back in the Keystone State and was introduced on Thursday.
“We had a lot of tears this week,” he said. “Sad tears of leaving a place we love, but happy tears of happiness. This is going to be so much fun and we could share it. Share our joy and our love with so many people around here that.”
Penn State lost a head coach to the draw of home, and seems to have gained one for the same reason.
Rhoades makes his fourth head coaching stop after spending time at Randolph-Macon and Rice before leading VCU. He went 129-61 in six season and took the Rams to three NCAA Tournaments.
Past success, and his passion were selling points for Penn State Athletic Director Pat Kraft.
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“We loved him from the start and we want to run through a wall for him,” Kraft said during Rhoades’ introduction. “He’s a winner. Hard stop. He’s a winner, period.”
After Penn State historic run back to the NCAA Tournament and their first tournament win since 2001, Rhoades will be tasked with repeating and rebuilding.
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He’ll do so by being “bold, different and aggressive,” which he believes fits Penn State’s tradition.
“This is Penn State. Penn State has had unbelievable athletes, student athletes for a long, long time,” he said. “And those are the guys we’re going to find and cultivate to play basketball at Penn State.”
Rhoades is set to hit the ground running. He’s already assembled a coaching staff, bringing Jamal Brunt, JD Byers, Brent Scott and Jimmy Martelli all from VCU. He’s also added former Nittany Lion Joe Crispin who’d spent the last seven seasons coaching at Rowan College.