JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (April 2, 2003) - In a press conference scheduled for Thursday at 11 a.m. in State College, Penn., current East Tennessee State University men's basketball coach Ed DeChellis will accept the vacant head coaching job at Penn State University.
DeChellis, who has spent the last seven seasons at ETSU, completed his rebuilding of the Buccaneer program during this past 2002-03 season with a 20-11 record, a third-straight Southern Conference North Division title, a SoCon Tournament championship, and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 11 years.
"This was a very hard decision to leave East Tennessee State," said DeChellis, who compiled an 105-93 overall record with the Bucs. "The administration at the university and the fan support has been tremendous. The hardest part of this is leaving the current players. I owe a great deal to this team and previous teams.
"As a coach, you always want to compete at the highest level and this opportunity allows me to compete at the highest level of college basketball."
The 44-year-old native of Monaca, Penn., will be returning to his alma mater, where he graduated in 1982 and spent a decade there as an assistant coach (1986-96). In the final season of his previous stint at Penn State, DeChellis helped guide the team to a 21-6 overall record, a Top 20 national ranking, and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
ETSU interim Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dave Mullins said he has mixed emotions about DeChellis' departure.
"Eddie's undoubtedly done a great job at ETSU," Mullins said. "He and I have worked together as coaching colleagues and having had the opportunity to work with him in my current position - being closer to the program and working with him even more -- has given me a greater respect for him as a coach and a person. Although I hate to see him leave ETSU, we have all benefited from his being here and are all better for it."
East Tennessee State University President Dr. Paul E. Stanton, Jr., was also complimentary of DeChellis' efforts at the school.
"I join the entire university community and Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia region in offering an enthusiastic tribute to coach Ed DeChellis," Stanton said. "He has built a fine basketball program at ETSU, and he has done so in the right way. Ed understands that character and classroom ability create winning programs, just as much as athletic skill. His own career proves that point.
"His contribution to Buccaneer athletics will last and be remembered far beyond his departure for his alma mater, Penn State. I thank Ed and his family for making our athletic program and our university stronger by their presence. I have no doubt they will do the same at Penn State."
As for the future of ETSU basketball, Mullins said the search for a new coach will begin in earnest.
"Our program is sound, we have great athletes in our program, and we are going to do everything we can to maintain that quality and insure that our players have the very best coaching staff available at this time," Mullins said. "We will begin the search immediately and it is our goal to maintain the momentum which has been generated over the last several seasons."