Steve Lavin may determine future of Penn State basketball

Paul Hook a Junior at Penn State will be joining the VBR crew. This is his first post. Play nice, and enjoy.

Terrific is the word to describe the staff Steve Lavin is forming at ST John’s-      look 4 Red Storm to dance in 2011!

This was a tweet yesterday from the unofficial Twitter of the one and only Dick Vitale. It caught my eye and reminded me of the first thought I had when I heard St. John’s had hired the former UCLA coach: Steve Lavin very well could be Penn State’s men’s basketball coach right now.

Rewind to March of 2001. Penn State had just upset North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Basketball Tournament and a 10-year old in Tennessee (me) had just fallen in love with Penn State basketball. Now fast-forward to March of 2003. After two consecutive 7-21 seasons, head basketball coach at Penn State, Jerry Dunn, resigns and athletic director Tim Curley begins a “national search” for the next head coach. I remember, at the tender of age of 13, hearing the name of Steve Lavin being mentioned in connection with the Penn State job and that he was actually very much interested in it. Being a budding college basketball fan I knew the name of Steve Lavin because of the success (5 of 6 years in the Sweet 16) he had had at UCLA and that he had just been fired after one dismal season (10-19).

That distant memory was confirmed by a Daily Collegian (Penn State’s student newspaper) article from February 2007 about former Penn State point guard, Ben Luber. The article says at one point,

            Tim Floyd, now coach at Southern California, and Steve Lavin, former UCLA      coach and current ESPN analyst were two [big names mentioned for the job],         but Penn State went [with] a familiar face: DeChellis, a former assistant under       Dunn and before that, Bruce Parkhill.

So Lavin was considered, but Ed DeChellis was hired and now Lavin is the head man at St. John’s. What does that have to do with the current state of Penn State basketball? Well it may not have had a huge impact on the current state of Penn State basketball, but it very well may have an impact on the future.

Tim Curley has staunchly defended Ed DeChellis after the disappointing previous season. He believes that DeChellis is taking the program in the right direction and has said it on many occasions. However, keep in mind that Tim Curley was the athletic director in 2003 that considered Steve Lavin. Let’s say that Lavin has brought in a great staff and makes the NCAA tournament in 2011. Lavin’s ability to galvanize a program that has potential, but has hovered around .500 the past 10 years into a tournament team could very well plant some seeds of doubt in Curley’s mind about whether or not he made the correct choice back in 2003. Those seeds could eventually lead to big changes at Penn State, especially if combined with another mediocre season.

I will undoubtedly be keeping an eye on how Steve Lavin and the St. John’s Red Storm do this season. I hope the rest of Nittany Nation will do so as well because it very well could contribute to the future of our basketball program.

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Tags: Ed Dechellis Penn State Basketball St John's Basketball Steve Lavin

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