The United States Naval Academy pulled off one of the most impressive hires of the year Monday, announcing Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis as their replacement for Billy Lange-who had recently departed to join Jay Wright’s staff at Villanova.
Here is the official release, courtesy of the Navy Sports Information Department…
Ed DeChellis Named Head Basketball Coach At The Naval Academy
ANNAPOLIS, Md.—Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk announced Monday that Penn State head coach Ed DeChellis is leaving his post at Happy Valley to become the 19th head basketball coach at the Naval Academy.
“To have one of the most highly respected coaches and educators in the sport join our Navy family is a great day for the program and the Academy,” said Gladchuk. “Ed’s maturity, integrity, character and accomplishments at Penn State have made him one of the most respected role models in the coaching ranks. His career is all about building programs with educational priorities in place, including graduating every senior that has ever played for him, and in the end achieving team goals that resonate with competing for championships. Ed will make a positive and impactful impression on Navy Basketball in short order.”
“I’m thrilled and honored to be the next head basketball coach at the United States Naval Academy,” said DeChellis. “My wife and girls are excited to be a part of the Navy family and this is the perfect opportunity for me because I believe in the core values of the Academy. We fell in love with Annapolis and the Academy when we came and visited and we look forward to being part of a place so steeped in tradition. I look forward to the challenge of not only winning the Patriot League Championship and taking Navy back to the NCAA Tournament, but also helping young men become future leaders of this great nation of ours. I look forward to meeting the players and talking to the recruits and starting the process of getting Navy Basketball back on the national stage.”
DeChellis, who is 52, led Penn State to a 19-15 record and a fourth place finish (9-9) in the Big Ten in 2010-11, including the Nittany Lions first appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game and the school’s first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2001.
The Nittany Lions were led by senior guard Talor Battle, who finished second in the Big Ten in scoring (20.2 ppg) and became the first player in school history to be named team MVP all four years. Battle finished his career as Penn State’s all-time leading scorer with 2,213 points, surpassing Jesse Arnelle’s 56-year old Penn State record of 2,138, and finished 10th all-time in Big Ten history.
DeChellis was the 2009 Big Ten Coach of the Year, just the second Penn State basketball coach to ever earn coach-of-the-year honors, as he guided a Nittany Lion team that started three sophomores to a school-record 27 wins and the program’s first-ever national tournament title in winning the 2009 NIT. Along the way Penn State tied a program record for regular season wins (21), posted its second-most Big Ten Conference wins (10) and second-best finish (4th) ever, recorded just the 10th 20-win season in program history, knocked off four Top 25 teams (including a road win at eventual NCAA runner-up Michigan State), set a record for home wins (17) and posted the program’s most road wins (6) in the Big Ten era.
Penn State’s remarkable run was led by Battle, who was a first-team All-Big Ten, NABC and USBWA all-region selection and NIT MVP Jamelle Cornley, who finished his career ranked fourth all-time in scoring and rebounding at Penn State. Neither player was a highly sought blue-chip recruit, but found remarkable success and achievement under the tutelage of DeChellis and his staff.
His coaching performance in 2007-08 had many of his Big Ten colleagues and members of the media pointing to him as the conference’s coach-of-the-year. Primed for a run to the post-season in his fifth year at the helm, DeChellis saw his leading scorer, rebounder and preseason All-Big Ten first-team pick Geary Claxton go down with a torn ACL 16 games into the season. Second leading scorer and rebounder Jamelle Cornley also suffered a knee injury that limited him for much of the season and caused him to miss six games, including the last three. All DeChellis did was lead a team that started four freshmen and five newcomers to its most Big Ten wins and best Big Ten finish since 2001. Along the way his young Lions knocked off No. 7 Michigan State and No. 17 Indiana while winning five straight home games to end the campaign.
The Nittany Lions reached the NIT in 2006, DeChellis’ third year at the helm. Despite playing the youngest (12 underclassmen and one senior) and smallest line-up (just one player over 6-6 playing more than four minutes per game in league play) in the Big Ten, DeChellis led Penn State to its most overall wins (15), most non-conference wins (eight), most Big Ten wins (six), first Big Ten Tournament win and first post-season appearance (NIT) in five seasons.
DeChellis’ recruiting and coaching helped Penn State claim its first ever Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year (Jamelle Cornley, 2006) and three straight members of the Big Ten All-Freshman Team (Marlon Smith, 2004; Geary Claxton, 2005; Jamelle Cornley, 2006). The Lions had none before his arrival. He also set about changing and revitalizing the program’s culture – stressing family, a team-first attitude and a commitment to excellence without shortcuts that his players embraced and took ownership of.
DeChellis wrapped up the year by being named the 2006 National Coaches Vs. Cancer Man-of-the-Year for his contributions in raising funds and awareness in the fight against cancer. DeChellis was presented the award by ESPN’s Jay Bilas before a large gathering of his peers at the Laurel Valley Golf Club in western Pennsylvania.
Penn State was coming off two consecutive seven-win seasons when DeChellis was named the 11th head coach in program history in April of 2003. Energizing the fans and players immediately, he helped guide Penn State to nine wins in his first season, better than each of the prior two seasons, with fewer players on scholarship than the previous year.
DeChellis began his coaching career in Happy Valley, serving as a graduate assistant coach under Dick Harter and Bruce Parkhill. In 1984, he moved on to Salem College in Salem, West Virginia, where he had a two-year stint as an assistant coach. While at Salem, DeChellis also served as the school’s Director of Intramurals. Showcasing the overall commitment to the growth of the young people he comes into contact with, DeChellis increased the Salem program from a four-sport entity into a broad-based program offering 40 activities to over 800 students — all in just two years, and all while serving as an assistant basketball coach.
In 1986, DeChellis returned to Penn State and began a very successful 10-year run as an assistant coach for nine years under Bruce Parkhill, a mentor to whom he credits his development as a coach, and one season under Jerry Dunn. During his time as a Nittany Lion assistant, Penn State made the transition to the Big Ten Conference and had some outstanding post-season success. DeChellis helped guide Penn State to four straight post-season appearances from 1989 through 1992. During that four-year span of 20+ win seasons, Penn State posted an impressive 87-40 record.
The 1988-89 squad went 20-12, advanced to the Atlantic 10 Tournament finals and then on to the National Invitation Tournament.
The next season, Penn State set a school record for wins in a season posting a 25-9 record. The Nittany Lions advanced to the 1990 NIT semifinals at Madison Square Garden, earning third place.
Building on two straight NIT appearances and a record-setting season, DeChellis helped the 1990-91 Penn State team to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament bid since 1965. Penn State went 21-11 and won the Atlantic 10 Tournament title. That win propelled Penn State into the NCAA Tournament and a first round upset of 16th-ranked UCLA. Penn State barely missed out on a trip to the Sweet 16 when it dropped an overtime heartbreaker to Eastern Michigan in the second round.
The 1991-92 season was a transitional year for Penn State as its affiliation with the Atlantic 10 ended and the Nittany Lions spent a year as an independent with Big Ten play just a year away. The Nittany Lions went 21-8 and earned another trip to the NIT.
Entrance into the Big Ten was a learning experience for the entire Nittany Lion athletic program, but improvement and growth occurred quickly for the basketball program. After a slow start in its initial year, Penn State improved in each year of conference play.
Penn State went 2-16 the first year in the loop, tripled that win total in year two going 6-12, and improved yet again with a 9-9 showing in 1994-95. That team went 21-11 overall and earned another trip to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals and took home another third place finish.
The following year, utilizing many players that DeChellis helped recruit, Penn State had its most successful Big Ten season to date and earned a second trip to the NCAA Tournament for DeChellis.
With Parkhill resigning prior to the start of the 1995-96 season, Dunn, an assistant on the Penn State staff with DeChellis, took over the helm of the Lions and along with DeChellis helped guide Penn State to a 21-7 record, a best-ever 12-6 mark and second place finish in Big Ten play, a top 10 national ranking, and another trip to the NCAA Tournament.
DeChellis returned to Penn State as the head coach after a very successful seven-year run as the head coach at East Tennessee State University. At ETSU he turned a last place Buccaneer team into a three-time conference division winner, a conference tournament champion and took ETSU to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade.
Taking over a program that went 7-20 the year before his arrival, DeChellis amassed a 105-93 record in his seven years as head coach from 1996-97 to 2002-03. Showcasing the ability to build a program from the foundation up, DeChellis had his most successful seasons in his last three years. During that span, his ETSU teams went 56-31 and won three straight Southern Conference North Division titles.
DeChellis, who has a career record of 222-232 at two programs he had to completely rebuild and who has seen every senior that has played for him over his 15 years as a head coach graduate, is a 1982 graduate of Penn State. He and his wife Kim have three daughters: Casey, Erin, and Lauren.