DeChellis returning to Penn State as men's basketball coach

April 02, 2003

University Park, Pa. -- Ed DeChellis, who rebuilt East Tennessee State from the bottom of the standings to champions of the Southern Conference, is returning to Penn State as head coach of the men's basketball program.

Tim Curley, Penn State's director of athletics, announced DeChellis' appointment. DeChellis was formally introduced Thursday, April 3 at a news conference in the Founder's Room of the Bryce Jordan Center.

DeChellis, 44, is the 11th head coach in the 107-year history of the Nittany Lion program. He replaces Jerry Dunn, who resigned March 17 after eight years as head coach.

A 1982 Penn State graduate, DeChellis has built a reputation as one of the nation's hardest-working and successful coaches and recruiters during his 21 years in collegiate coaching. He is returning to Happy Valley as head coach after previously serving his alma mater as a graduate assistant (1982-84) and assistant coach (1986-96).

DeChellis is the fourth Penn State graduate to serve as men's basketball coach at his alma mater, joining Burke Hermann (1916-17, 1920-32), Elmer Gross (1950-54) and John Egli (1955-68).

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to return to Penn State as the head basketball coach," stated DeChellis. "Penn State is an exceptional institution. It has a rich and proud athletic tradition and is a member of one of the nation's premier conferences in the Big Ten. I'm looking forward to again being a part of the Nittany Lion family. Having spent a decade at Penn State, the University has always held a special place in my heart. We have maintained many friendships in the State College and Penn State communities over the years."

"We are thrilled to welcome Ed DeChellis back to Penn State as our new men's basketball coach," Curley said. "Ed was a highly-respected member of our basketball staff for 10 years and was instrumental in the recruitment of some of the greatest players to play at Penn State. During his seven years as head coach at East Tennessee State, Ed has taken the Buccaneers from the bottom of the Southern Conference standings to three North Division titles and the Southern Conference Championship this past season.

"Ed has demonstrated the ability to recruit and lead student-athletes, playing an exciting brand of basketball and developing a strong program across the board. We look forward to working with Ed, his staff and players on reaching the lofty goals we have for the men's basketball program," added Curley.

Following his second stint at Penn State, DeChellis was named head coach at East Tennessee State University on March 7, 1996. He took over a program that was 7-20 the previous season and did not return any starters. Over the course of his seven years at ETSU DeChellis turned around the Buccaneers' fortunes, culminated by a 20-11 record and the Southern Conference Championship this past season. The Bucs returned to the NCAA Championship for the first time since 1992 and were seeded No. 15 in the East Region. East Tennessee State threw a major scare into No. 2 seed and Atlantic Coast Conference Champion Wake Forest, losing 76-73 in a first round thriller that was tied in the final minute.

Under DeChellis, the Bucs have been among the SoCon's highest scoring teams, averaging 82.0 points per game this past season. The Bucs scored at least 85 points in 15 games during the 2002-03 campaign.

A native of Monaca, Pa., DeChellis guided East Tennessee from a 3-11 record in the Southern Conference in 1996-97 to three consecutive SoCon North Division titles the last three years. DeChellis was recognized for his efforts with his selection as Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2000-01 and 2001-02. He is the only coach in ETSU history to be named conference coach of the year more than once.

In his seven seasons at the Johnson City, Tenn. school, DeChellis posted a 105-93 record, with a 56-31 mark the past three years. Over the past three seasons, ETSU's 35-13 conference record is the best of any SoCon school.
DeChellis ranks third in ETSU history with his 105 victories.

During his tenure at ETSU, the Bucs had five first-team All-Southern Conference selections, one SoCon Player of the Year and two SoCon Freshmen of the Year, including guard Tim Smith this past season.

DeChellis' players also have been accomplished in the classroom. The team grade point average was below 2.0 when he arrived at East Tennessee. Since his arrival, every senior has graduated and the team GPA has improved to 2.7.

Prior to taking the reins of the ETSU program, DeChellis spent 10 years as an assistant coach for the Nittany Lions, serving nine seasons with Bruce Parkhill (1987-95) and one with Jerry Dunn (1995-96). DeChellis was instrumental in helping build Penn State into one of the top programs in the Atlantic 10 Conference, culminating in the A-10 title and an NCAA Tournament berth in 1991. The No. 13 seeded Lions upset No. 4 seed UCLA in the first round of the '91 NCAA Championship.

In 1992-93, the Nittany Lions began competition in the Big Ten Conference and DeChellis helped elevate Penn State to second place in the Big Ten standings (12-6) and an NCAA berth in its fourth season in the league. The Lions finished 21-7 overall during the 1995-96 campaign.

DeChellis was primarily responsible for identifying and recruiting many of the players that helped Penn State's transition into the Big Ten and rank among the greatest players in program history. Among the standouts he recruited, all of whom earned All-Big Ten accolades, were: John Amaechi, Matt Gaudio, Dan Earl, Pete Lisicky, Calvin Booth and Jarrett Stephens. Amaechi (1995), Gaudio (1996) and Stephens (2000) were first-team All-Big Ten selections, Booth was the 1998 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Lisicky was an honorable-mention All-American in '96.

Lisicky (3rd, 1,605 points), Stephens (6th, 1,372), Amaechi (10th, 1,310), Booth (11th, 1,288) and Earl (12th, 1,256) occupy five of the top 12 spots on the Penn State career scoring list. In addition, Earl is second in school history in career assists, Stephens is first in career field goal percentage and Lisicky is first in career three-pointers made.

During DeChellis' 10 years as an assistant coach, Penn State earned two NCAA Tournament berths, made three appearances in the National Invitation Tournament, finishing third in 1990 and '95, and won 20 or more games six times.

"Coach DeChellis had a great relationship with all the players, knows the game of basketball, was a great teacher and can recruit?I don't know what else you could want from a coach," stated Earl.

"Coach DeChellis was not only one of the greatest coaches that I have played for, but also became one of my best friends," said Gaudio. "He taught me much about basketball and life, and I cannot think of a better person to be Penn State's basketball coach."

During the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons, DeChellis was an assistant coach at Salem College in Salem, W.Va. An NAIA Division I institution, DeChellis was involved in all aspects of the program and also served as director of intramurals, increasing the program from just four sports to more than 40 activities in just two years.

DeChellis began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coach at Penn State under Dick Harter in 1982-83 and then under Parkhill when he began his 12-year tenure as the Nittany Lions' head coach in 1983-84.

DeChellis played basketball for two years at Penn State's Beaver campus before matriculating to the University Park campus. He earned his degree in secondary education in 1982.

DeChellis and his wife, Kim, have three daughters, Casey (20), Erin (13) and Lauren (11).

DeChellis' Coaching Record
Season, School, Record, Conference (finish)

1996-97, East Tennessee State, 7-20, 2-12 (5th North)
1997-98, East Tennessee State, 1-16, 6-9 (5th North)
1998-99, East Tennessee State, 17-11, 9-7 (3rd North)
1999-2000, East Tennessee State, 14-15, 8-8 (4th North)
2000-01, East Tennessee State, 18-10, 13-3 (1st North)
2001-02, East Tennessee State, 18-10, 11-5 (T-1st North)
2002-03, East Tennessee State, 20-11, 11-5 (T-1st North; Southern Conference Champions)

Totals: 7 years, 105-93 record

Ed DeChellis File

Personal
Born: November 14, 1958 in Monaca, Pa. (44)
Hometown: Monaca, Pa.

Education
High School: Center Township High School, Monaca, Pa. '77
College: Penn State '82

Playing Experience
High School: Played at Center Township High School in Monaca, Pa.
College: Played two years at Penn State's Beaver campus before coming to University Park campus.

Coaching Experience
1982-84: Graduate assistant coach at Penn State under Dick Harter (1982-83) and Bruce Parkhill (1983-84)

1984-86: Was an assistant coach at Salem (W. Va.) College and served as director of intramurals at the NAIA school.

1986-96: Served as an assistant coach at Penn State under Bruce Parkhill for nine years and Jerry Dunn for one season.
Instrumental in helping the Nittany Lions earn two NCAA Tournament berths, three NIT berths and post six 20-win seasons. Identified and recruited several standout players, including six who earned All-Big Ten accolades: John Amaechi, Matt Gaudio, Dan Earl, Pete Lisicky, Calvin Booth and Jarrett Stephens.

1996-2003: Was named head coach at East Tennessee State University on March 7, 1996. Took over a team that was 7-20 overall and 3-11 in the Southern Conference in 1995-96 and by 1998-99 was 17-11 overall and 9-7 in the league. In 2000-01, the Buccaneers went 13-3 to win the SoCon regular season championship and finished 18-10 overall. His last three teams have finished in first place in the SoCon's North Division, with the 2002-03 squad earning a 20-11 record and winning the Southern Conference Tournament title to secure the Bucs' first NCAA Championship bid since 1992. In the NCAA Tournament, the No. 15 seeded Bucs fell to No. 2 seed and ACC Champion Wake Forest, 76-73 in an East Region first round thriller. DeChellis was named Southern Conference Coach of the Year in 2000-01 and 2001-02.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009