The chaos that has ensued in the Penn State Basketball community since Micah Shrewsberry left for Notre Dame has been tense the last week.
All roads led to Mike Rhoades.
Fans are upset that the Nittany Lions‘ job was used as a stepping stone job for another program and that has seemed to light a fire under AD Pat Kraft as he searched for the next coach as many reports had come out about being willing to pay high salary for a quality coach.
Well, Kraft found his man and it is current VCU Head Coach Mike Rhoades.
Mike Rhoades’ Playing History
Mike Rhoades is a Pennsylvania native and led Lebanon Valley College (LVC) to the 1994 Division 3 national championship. He still holds the school record in assists, steals, and free-throw percentage. Rhoades was an All-American twice and in 1995 the national player of the year. His #5 jersey is retired at LVC.
Rhoades started his coaching career at Randolph-Macon (DIII) as an assistant in 1996. He was then awarded the head coaching job in 1999 and spent 10 years in charge with a 197-76 record. During his time he took Randolph-Macon to 4 NCAA Tournaments and 2 Sweet Sixteens.
In 2009 Rhoades made the jump to Division 1 where he took a job as the associate head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). He was on the staff that went to 4 straight NCAA Tournament’s and a Final 4 Appearance (2011).
Rhoades got his first Division 1 Head Coaching job in 2014 at Rice University. After finishing with a 12-20 record his first two seasons, Rhoades led the team to a 23-12 record in 2016-17 and a CBI Quarterfinal.
The turnaround at Rice got the attention of his former stop at VCU who named him the head coach in 2017.
Rhoades had a very successful run in the 6 seasons as head coach taking the Rams to 3 NCAA Tournament’s and 1 NIT appearance. VCU also won the Atlantic 10 regular season title in 2019 and both the regular/conference tournament title in 2023.
Is this a good hire for Penn State Basketball?
Penn State fans have been in a little bit of a spiral these last few days as current players continue to enter the transfer portal and incoming freshmen ask to be released from their national letters of intent.
Take a deep breath, this program will be back probably quicker than most expect with the ability to utilize the transfer portal. This is a great hire for Penn State and bringing back a Pennsylvania guy should create some stability within the program.
Rhoades is an excellent defensive coach and his teams in the past have been known to suffocate teams in conference. A good Big 10 comparison of styles would be that of Steve Pikiell, head coach at Rutgers. In addition to the portal, Rhoades has done an excellent job recruiting including 2 4-star recruits in the 2022 class. One of those recruits is Christian Fermin from Pocono Summit, PA.
A 6-foot-10 Center who will surely be one of the top targets for the Nittany Lions in the transfer portal. Penn State is paying Rhoades north of $3 million per year, proof that the athletic department is beginning to take basketball seriously. The next step is making sure the right people are elected to the board of trustees in a few weeks.