Posted by Matt Norlander
When news came down Monday that Penn State's Ed DeChellis was leaving his team -- his alma mater, at that -- to coach at Navy, it raised eyebrows across the country. Even if Penn State's a horrible Big Ten hoops job, it's still much, much, much better than Navy's. DeChellis' move this late into the offseason, an offseason filled with tardy coaching changes, shocked just about everyone. After all, the man was coming off a season in which he got the Nittany Lions to the NCAA tournament.
Yes, that happened. Here's the proof. If you were a little surprised about such a transgression, well maybe that speaks to Penn State basketball in general. The 2010-11 season was a successful one, one of culmination after years of basement Big Ten dwelling. Maybe that's why he's going.
For the first time in years, Penn State was more than an also-ran. But DeChellis wanted out so badly he took a job in the Patriot League, one that will pay him considerably less money and tether many of his recruiting tentacles. Was the move unprecedented? Absolutely not. Just last year Greg McDermott left Iowa State to coach at Creighton. The difference there: Iowa State was in a much worse position than Penn State, plus, McDermott had the chance of coaching his son at Creighton.
Still, this kind of jump is fairly rare, when you consider the average amount of coaching flux in an offseason in the past 20 years is about 35 jobs, give or take.
The Wall Street Journal looked at recent self-initiated demotions. Darren Everson went back to 1994 and found eight cases where a coach left one school to coach at an inferior one. The only reasonable comparison to DeChellis, though, is Billy Tubbs, who was out at Oklahoma in '94, leaving for TCU.
The RPI listed below is according to CollegeRPI.com, run by CBSSports.com contributor Jerry Palm. Everson listed BCS-to-non-BCS switches; not every job is a higher-to-lower/superior-too-inferi
or move, though. New Mexico is an upgrade from Oregon State, which Ritchie McKay did nine years ago.
Good luck to DeChellis. He'll toil in more obscurity and deal with bigger challenges, even if his league is easier to win than the Big Ten. All things considered, you can't call this the easy way out.