The long-term problem with Penn State basketball is so obvious that it is stupefying that the honchos at Penn State haven't dealt with it over the last quarter century. The problem isn't Happy Valley itself. Check out the top 25 rankings sometime. They are always dotted with schools located in places most ballplayers couldn't find with a GPS. The Nittany Lions can't go out and simply get a good coach. They need to get somebody who brings his own recruiting base since Penn State doesn't have one. Who grows up dreaming of playing hoops for the Nits?
If Ed DeChellis - who fit the definition of a good coach without a recruiting base - decided it was best to depart for the Patriot League after his only NCAA appearance in eight seasons, it obviously speaks volumes about his own confidence in pushing the boulder up the hill again.
For Penn State, the solutions are obvious. (A) Get a really big-name, high-priced guy - call it the Huggins/Calipari solution. Let's safely assume that isn't going to happen. Or (B) Find somebody who will get players and know what to do with them. I'll give Penn State some credit here. They've flirted with Phil Martelli and Fran Dunphy in the past. They must recognize the value of having a strong coach with Philly ties. But they haven't gotten the deal done. (Important addendum: They can't just go hire a "recruiter" who doesn't know how to coach. Good recruiters quickly become bad recruiters if players see they can't teach the game.)
So here's the answer: Hire Bruiser Flint. I thought Flint was the right guy last time - and still do. He'll get players from Philly and New York, and he'll make them better. My bet is this won't happen since Bruiser hasn't gotten Drexel to the tournament - which seems to be the prerequisite for moving up - but he's perfect for this job. Sure, Penn State can go after a hot coach, but Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart is too hot, for instance, to settle for Penn State. Bruiser would have to go for it and is just as good a coach, with important state-school experience at UMass. (Thus completes this unpaid endorsement.)
The announcement came Tuesday: Former Widener, Delaware Valley, and La Salle coach Bill Manlove has been elected into the College Football Hall of Fame. Manlove - who had his greatest success at Widener, coaching there from 1969 to '91, winning two national titles at the Division III school - also put the lie to the idea that great football coaches had to be gruff intimidators. His players said Manlove rarely raised his voice.
One striking Manlove trait: He declined to wear his national championship rings, thinking it sent the wrong message about what's important in small-college sports. Make no mistake, Manlove liked to win. He just had a respectful relationship with his own competitiveness. On his desk at Widener, he used to have a mounted saying, a familiar joke, actually first uttered by a British soccer coach, but with easy crossover appeal: "Football is not a matter of life and death - it's much more important."
The UConn player from Germantown Academy made a YouTube name for herself this season with her trick shots. But Duke's Kyle Singler, of all people, has one-upped her with an incredible array of long-distance (and we mean long distance) shots from all around Duke's campus. Find him on YouTube. It might be the most entertaining three minutes you waste today.