3 worst head coach hires in Penn State basketball history

It's not easy to win on the hardwood at a football school, but these three coaches made it seem even tougher during their failed tenures at Penn State.
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Pat Chambers / Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports
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. John Bach. . 1968-78. John Bach. 2. 491. Record: 122-121. John Bach. player

Across his 19-year tenure at Fordham, Bach managed a record of 277-205 with two NCAA Tournament appearances. It was a solid resume, but one built more on longevity than greatness. Still, Penn State hired Bach, who began his career as a 26-year-old head coach to join Joe Paterno in the athletic department. 

Bach posted five losing seasons over his 10 years at Penn State including a combined record of 40-61 from 1974-78. It didn’t help that Penn State was independent for eight of his 10 years, something that helped the football program for so long, but severely stunted the growth of the Nittany Lions on the basketball court. 

By the end of his time at Penn State, the program was on a horrible trajectory, and even Harter, who was seen as a revolutionary defensive mind at Oregon, couldn’t save the program. Bach, who evidently had quite a bit of coaching acumen, eventually became a foundational piece of Phil Jackson’s staff in Chicago as Michael Jordan led the Bulls to three straight NBA titles from 1991-93. 

Both Harter and Bach proved to be successful coaches elsewhere, but the gravity of Joe Paterno in central Pennsylvania crushed the rest of the athletic department.