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Friday, November 11, 2011

#2 Egregiously Omitted Summer Story: Pat Chambers leaves

After March, Pat Chambers was a god to us.  He took us to two straight AE finals, including a championship and our first Big Dance in a decade.  The future looked even brighter.  I’m not going to say he could have gotten away with murder, but he certainly could have pantsed Dr. Robert Brown, BU President, in the middle of Comm Ave and received nothing more than a slap on the wrist.

For these reasons, BU AD Mike Lynch offered Chambers a contract extension through 2016 in early May.  We were excited.  Lynch was excited.  Chambers was excited.  After he signed the extension, Chambers stated:
“This is where I want to be. We’ve made this my dream job and again, you don’t get this type of support anywhere,” Chambers said. “We love the city of Boston, we love the university and we’re very grateful of this opportunity that they’ve given us and for BU basketball and what it’s done for us in this short time as a head coach.”
Less than one month after saying BU is where he wants to be, Chambers accepted the head coaching job at Penn State, a forever underachieving Big Ten program that will never make much more than a ripple next to its football program. 

The hire for Penn State was hailed as an excellent move, and the Nittany Lions fans rejoiced.  Reaction at BU was mixed, to say the least.  I can only speak for myself, but I was a little miffed.  On the one hand, Chambers got us the championship we wanted, left the cupboard full, and we can all understand the appeal of a bigger paycheck closer to home.  But on the other hand, it made it obvious that everything he had said about our program was disingenuous lip service.

Not only was BU not exactly "where [he] wanted to be," but there was unfinished business as well.  As I pointed out in this article in the Penn State Daily Collegian, everyone remembers Chambers' proclamation of turning BU into the "Gonzaga or Xavier of the East"... something virtually impossible in a mere two-year stay.

Look, everyone wants to move up to a better job.  But Penn State is a shitty job.  It's a near no-win situation in a place that doesn't care about basketball.

In the end, the majority of fans are not going to hold this against Pat Chambers, including me.  He is a good guy, and we probably would have made the same decision.  We may just be a little more skeptical the next time a flashy young coach roars into town talking big about his giant aspirations for our modest little program.

Best of luck to you, Coach Chambers, truly - and thank you for everything.  But don't be offended if I call your team the Shittany Lions.


The postscript to this is the awful situation unraveling now in Happy Valley (which takes on a whole new, terrible meaning).  I have no sympathy for anyone who went down in flames for any part of the cover-up or failure to act on allegations of child rape.  But how is this going to affect Coach Chambers and his historically terrible basketball program?  It's not fair to him or his players, but this is going to suck for them.

A few days ago, Chambers was interviewed about how somber the mood on campus was.  Well, I have a feeling it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better.  One can't help but wonder if Coach Chambers regrets his decision to leave BU for this shitshow, or if he'd take it back if he could.

Penn State's first basketball game under Chambers is this Saturday, and was timed to begin right as the football game got out.  In retrospect... yeah that's not going to be good for business.

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