Penn State Men's Basketball Coach Patrick Chambers
Introductory Press Conference
June 6, 2011
Steve Jones, Voice of the Nittany Lions:
Thank you for joining us for what is a great day today here at the Bryce Jordan Center because this is the day we introduce, as the 12th ever head basketball coach at Penn State, Patrick Chambers. Pat played for the legendary Herb Magee in Philadelphia where he was the all-time assist leader. We congratulate Herb on his entrance into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year in Springfield. He then rose to be the associate head coach at Villanova for Jay Wright and when the door opened at Boston University, he took that job and in two years he won 42 games, an American East Championship, and brought BU to the NCAA Tournament where he gave Kansas all they could handle. And so now today, when the door opened at Penn State University, it was finally time to bring Patrick Chambers back home to Pennsylvania. It's my honor to introduce you to the president of Penn State University, Dr. Graham Spanier.
Dr. Graham Spanier, Penn State President:
Thank you for all coming this afternoon. What a wonderful turnout and there is something very exciting going on here today and I'm certainly pleased to be a part of it. Tim Curley and others have been involved over the last couple of weeks looking all around the country at potential candidates for this head men's basketball coaching position and we thought about a lot of different people.
During that process, Patrick Chambers emerged early on as someone we should give very serious consideration to. I had the opportunity of spending three hours with him in Boston last Thursday. It was about the fastest three hours I've ever had in my career because it was very exciting and we covered a lot of ground. There was no doubt in my mind at the end of that discussion that he was the right person at the right time and place for this job. He is going to bring us a great attitude, exciting basketball, fabulous people skills and wonderful marketing savvy. You are going to see him and know him. He's going to win a lot of games for us. He's going to produce some great basketball players after bringing fantastic recruits here. He will have the unconditional support of this administration, university administration and athletic administration and I think a lot of support from all around the Penn State community. With that, let me again thank all of you for being here and to express my appreciation to you (Coach Chambers) for believing in us, coming to Penn State, and accepting this position and for leading us in the new era of Penn State basketball.
Tim Curley, Director of Athletics:
Thank you very much, Dr. Spanier. We appreciate your participation in being here and helping us through this whole process. I want to thank you all for joining us for this very special announcement today to not only welcome our new coach and Patrick's wife and children, we'll introduce them a little later, but I also want to thank and recognize the people who helped us through this transition the past several weeks.
First, I want to take an opportunity to thank our current team members and incoming recruits for their patience and understanding during this transition. Coaching transitions can be challenging and their support made the process effective and we believe very successful. I was very impressed when they expressed their confidence that the university would find the very best coach to lead this program. They look forward to the process playing out and meeting their new head coach.
Next, I would like to thank our current assistant coaches and our support staff for their guidance during this time period. Kurt Kanaskie and Dan Earl are two of the finest coaches that I've been around and they were nothing but professionals throughout the entire hiring process. I leaned on them for their advice and input and their outstanding contributions to this program are very much recognized and appreciated. I value their professionalism and their friendship.
The basketball support staff of Pam Byron, Wendy Miller, D.J. Black, Jon Salazer, Brad Pantall, Sue Sherburne, Dave Baker, Mitch Stover, Brian Siegrist, Jeff Nelson and Loren Crispell were most helpful in getting us to this announcement today. We have a great administrative team surrounding the men's basketball program here at the University. We appreciate all they do to support our team and coaching staff on a daily basis.
I do want to thank President Spanier again, Al Horvath, Linda Caldwell, our NCAA faculty representative, Cynthia Baldwin and Steve Garban for their support. All of them had important roles to play throughout the process and this was truly a team effort.
I'd also like to recognized some of our past tradition and history here at Penn State. We have in the audience today Coach John Egli's daughter, Bonnie Avillion. We also have our former head coach, Bruce Parkhill. Finally, I want to express my appreciation to Eddie Fogler, our search consultant. He provided invaluable advice and input every step of the way these past 11 days. Eddie is very highly respected in the basketball community and his service was exceptional. I certainly enjoyed his friendship throughout the process.
As Graham mentioned, this is a very exciting day for Penn State Basketball. We're beginning a new chapter that I believe will be defined by Pat's passion, attitude, energy, confidence, a lot of fun, and most importantly, Success With Honor. Patrick Chambers brings all of these ingredients to Happy Valley and we are very confident, with the continued support of the university, our Penn State alumni worldwide, the central Pennsylvania community, the tremendous Nittany Nation basketball student organization, and our loyal season ticket base, this will be the finest chapter in out history.
As Graham mentioned, we had the opportunity to visit Coach Chambers earlier this week. His contagious positive attitude, confidence in the program and university, and his values, which match our proud athletic history, inspired us to believe that he was the perfect fit to coach and lead this program to greatness. His vision, passion, and energy will inspire all of us to not only be part of his team, but to help him expand the interest, support and tradition of Penn State Basketball. Coach Chambers has the "it" factor. He has the full package all great coaches possess. He is a superior recruiter, with key contacts and relationships in all the major areas where Penn State needs to find the great basketball players. Coach Chambers has recruited All-Americans and current NBA players as well as found sleepers who he has developed into great players. He has NCAA Tournament experience and has helped guide teams who have reached the Final Four, Elite Eight, Sweet 16 and has a full appreciation of what it takes to compete at the highest level.
Player development is a top priority for coach Chambers. He has built a history of players maximizing their potential through out their college career. He has been mentored by the legendary Coach Magee, Dan Dougherty, and, of course, Jay Wright from Villanova. Academic performance, community service, compliance, and student-athlete welfare are the staples of his program. Promoting and supporting the educational mission of the university is a responsibility he believes in and embraces.
Patrick has a very strong marketing and sales background and there will be no one better in promoting, marketing, and selling the Penn State basketball program 24/7, 365. Patrick is from Newtown Square, Pa. and believe it or not, he's the youngest of 12 children. He is accompanied by his immediate and extended family. When I asked him how he was going to increase the attendance here at Penn State, he just pointed to his family. We welcome Patrick's wonderful wife, Courtney, and their two beautiful children, Grace and Ryan, to our Penn State family. I would like all of you here to please join me in giving a warm Penn State welcome to our new men's basketball head coach, Patrick Chambers.
Patrick Chambers, Nittany Lion Basketball Coach:
Wow, thank you, thank you so much. This is an incredible opportunity, obviously. I want to thank President Spanier and Director of Athletics, Tim Curley, for this incredible, incredible dream come true. I want to thank the entire Penn State family. Everyone's been so incredibly nice since I've gotten here yesterday to me, my wife and my children. It just feels like home, it just feels right. I feel like I have come home, we're going to anchor in and hopefully we're going to be here a really long time. I got the chance to see Coach Joe Paterno today and, man, that was a thrill. I almost asked him for his autograph, but I figured I'd wait a couple weeks on that (laughter). This administration is committed. Coach Paterno said to me, 'We want to do great things, we want to win.' Tim and President Spanier said the same thing. That's why I wanted to be a part of this incredible Penn State family. So I'm excited to get going.
It's great to see so many former players and thank the assistants just like Tim had done: Dan Earl, Joe Crispin, all the guys, B.A. (Brian Allen). Coach [Bruce] Parkhill and I just talked. I was actually here in Rec Hall back in the early '90s (1993) when they had a tough battle, a double-overtime game against Indiana. We all know what happened there. Coach (Parkhill) and I were just talking about it, so Coach, I hope my teams play as hard as your teams did and with great passion, I hope to continue that tradition and excellence that you started. Again, the former players, the players that just left...Coach Ed DeChellis started something here and we got to keep building it and that's what we're going to do.
To my wife, thank you so much and to my kids. My wife is my rock, she's the associate head coach, she's with me no matter what...good and bad times, wins and losses. She's there for me, picking me up and there's something to be said for that so thank you, thank you so much.
My extended family, if you could all just stand up. Just so everyone knows, we just increased 50 tickets with the Chambers family. Thank you for your support system. Thank you for everything you taught me, you've helped me get to this spot today with work ethic, with kindness, with relationships. You've taught me about the real world and I'm going to take all those talents with me and utilize them here today. I'd be remise not to say that its Ryan's birthday, he'll be one-year old tomorrow.
I also want to recognize, just real quick, I want to say my mom passed away a year and a half ago and I know, I know she had something to do with this. She just wanted us all in the same state and wanted us to all be together and I thank her up in heaven because I know she's up there dealing with this crew.
I want to recognize [Villanova head coach] Jay Wright, he taught me how to build a program, how to run a program, to build a championship program, how to recruit and also how to build relationships. I owe so much to him. He gave me an opportunity out of high school, one that most people probably wouldn't have given and he gave me that shot. He saw something in me and I'll be forever indebted to him. Jay, if you're watching, thank you my man and I appreciate everything.
To hall of famer Herb Magee, I appreciate everything. He gave me a scholarship when I had no place to go. He taught me so many things about basketball, about X's and O's and he was truly a great father figure. The legendary Dan Dougherty taught me about discipline, taught me about loyalty, taught me about hard work with his army background and you can only imagine how many extensions we ran in some of those practices.
And, of course, my former school Boston University: Dr. Brown, Joe Mercurio, and the director of athletics, Mike Lynch. They gave me a chance, they had faith in me and I am really appreciative of that. And, of course, those players. It's bittersweet sometimes, I love those players, I care about those players and it was tough to leave them. I know they're going to be successful and I know they're going to be great men.
Nittany Nation, students, alums, fans...it's the only school you can go anywhere in the world and yell, 'We are...' [Assembled crowd, 'Penn State!']. And you're going to hear something. It might be off in the distance, but you're going to hear something. I hope you all embrace this new attitude we're going to bring. We're going to follow in the Penn State Way, follow in the traditions of Penn State Basketball. "Success With Honor" is our motto. We will recruit kids who are serious about their degrees that love to play basketball, that will represent Penn State with integrity, that will be out in the community working charities and doing whatever we can to help the area. I'm fired up about the incoming team, the team that's here now and the incoming freshmen. I've talked to all of them on the phone, they're excited, I'm excited, I cannot wait to meet all of them and get going, just meet with them in Summer Session II.
We're going to play a style, one that I hope you'll enjoy to come out and support. We're going to play up-tempo, we're going to push the ball. We want to get layups, if we don't get layups we're going to shoot threes. We're going to play with great confidence, we're going to create great habits every single day to prepare us for the most difficult environments in the Big Ten. On the other end, we're going to defend and we're going to rebound, we're going to be in stances, we're going to talk, we're going to dive, take charges. We're going to scrap for every inch to make sure we compete on a daily basis. The goal is to be the best team we can be by the end of the year, the best team that we can be. The foundation is here. The bricks have been laid: NIT Championship, NCAA Tournament berth...we need to continue on that path of consistency.
Finally, I would ask all of you to get this Bryce Jordan Center rocking. We need support; these kids need support. They put so much time and effort into school, into weightlifting, into basketball. We would love for you to come out not just for the big games, but for all the games and get this place going. This team will compete every night and I look forward to meeting everyone. I look forward to your support, I'm happy to be here at Penn State. Thank you.
First question comes from Matt Clark from Philadelphia and his question is "Coach, what is your number one priority as you step in as coach at Penn State?"
Well I'd have to say we have to recruit, go out and get the best players. Players that will compete day in and day out in the Big Ten and I think that's going to be our focus in this off-season and really bringing in that new attitude that I'm talking about. Really embracing the attitude and changing the culture.
Second question comes from Daniel Greenstien in Arlington, Va. "What plans do you have to connect with the huge student population to get them to come out to the Bryce Jordan Center?"
Well, let me ask Coach [Coquese] Washington for her golf cart, that would be number one. I'm going to drive around the golf cart and throw some t-shirts out there and throw some attitude bands and whatever I can do. We're going to the café and the dining hall and get on tables and do dorm storm and whatever we're allowed to do, we're going to do it. We're going to be seen in this community often.
Questions from Assembled Media
I know the last week has been a real whirlwind for you, now that you're officially introduced, how do you possibly describe your emotions right now?
I feel great to be honest with you, like it was game day. I was prepared, so when you're prepared there's really no stress if you're ready to go and you have a clear head and you're ready with the direction you want to go. With Penn State, with these two guys next to me and you have all their support, there's a sense of calm and a sense of confidence. I'm excited to be here and hi the ground running tonight.
You've had a history of being able recruit Baltimore, Washington, Philly, and New York, it's been well documented how tough it is to recruit East Coast players, I-95 Corridor players up here. What are your plans to turn that trend around to get those kids to come here?
We have to tap into our relationships, the relationships I've built all my life in Philadelphia when I was in high school and college and when I got to Villanova. We have to go back to where people know you and trust you. When people trust you they're going to send you their kids. I think that's the most important thing. I built a lot of good relationships, a lot of Philly kids and in the surrounding area came to Boston, so if we can do it to Boston we can do it to Penn State.
Do you have commitments from the current players to return? How are things going to turn out with the roster and also with the recruits who signed, is everyone still solid and coming to Penn State?
As of today, yes, everything is going well. We've had some great conversations with everybody, everybody seems every positive and upbeat and really looking forward to getting here for Summer Session II and I'm excited to meet them. That's what we're going to do this week, we're going to go out, meet players, meet families, shake some hands. I think sometimes with social media you miss that human element and I think we need to get back to that.
Under Ed [DeChellis], Penn State stopped playing Pitt because he said he wanted to play non-conference games in more fertile recruiting areas. Will you be interested in renewing a series with Pitt?
I consider Jamie Dixon a friend and he runs an incredible program. I would definitely say that's something we'd look into to get a little rivalry going.
I was curious about that Indiana game (in 1993). Why did you come up here and how old were you and what are your memories?
I came up to a lot of football games, there's no doubt about that. I believe my sister was living up here, my sister Megan, and Michael. They invited me up and my sister Lisa came up and there was a basketball game, Penn State was playing Indiana. I knew a lot about Coach Parkhill, I was a basketball junkie. Bobby Knight was on the other sideline roaming like a tiger, it was an incredible game and Penn State battled to the bitter end. It's disappointing how that finished. Rec Hall was terrific, it was a great environment.
What kind of concerns do you have, if any, about taking this job? Did anything present itself about Penn State's history as extra challenges you have to take on?
Once I met with Tim and President Spanier, the perception is out there that there are challenges. We have everything we need: great arena, great offices, great locker room. Everything we need. You got to go out and recruit and get it done. These guys are committed to winning and that's what we're going to do. We're going to work hard and bring in the best talent we can.