Column: Why Chambers should not be fired

Story posted March 2, 2015 in Sports, CommRadio by Mandy Bell

It was just released at the beginning of last week that Patrick Chambers’ job is secure for next year.  Many students and fans were upset by this news due to the fact that the Penn State men’s basketball team has not had much success since Chambers took over for Ed DeChellis. 

The team started off strong this year in the non-conference, having a record of 12-1 going into Big Ten play. Then, the Nittany Lions continued to struggle against Big Ten opponents only picking up three conference wins so far on the year. 

During Pat Chambers’ reign at Penn State, the team has only won 15 out of 54 conference games, putting Chambers at a .278 winning percentage in the B1G conference.  With this being said, it is easy to see why Penn State fans think it is time for someone else to be in command of this team next season.  However would that be the most logical decision?

At one point in time, Happy Valley was solely focused on Penn State football and Penn State basketball.  Those were the two big sports on campus that drew the biggest crowds.  Football drew the fans in the fall and basketball kept them coming in the winter into the early spring.  Now, times are much different.

Penn State football will always remain the most popular sport on campus, but basketball has begun to fade.  Men’s ice hockey has made a name for itself at University Park and has taken sole position of second in the most popular sport rankings.

Pegula Ice Arena is jam packed every home game with a more dedicated student section than any basketball game has had in years.  Following ice hockey, men’s wrestling is able to fill Rec Hall weeks prior to the match being held.  Tickets sell out so early that a fan is able to scalp tickets outside of the building to get in on game day.

Needless to say, at the current moment, basketball is the fourth most popular sport on campus.  With that in mind and realizing that Pat Chambers still has time left on his contract, why would Penn State fire him to move on to a new coach?  If Chambers is fired before his contract is up, Penn State is still required to pay him until his contract expires.  Two coaches should not be paid to try to fix a basketball team in one year when students and fans are looking for other events to attend before they consider basketball. 

The biggest reason that fans need to give Chambers another year is that he has one of Penn State’s best recruiting classes ever coming in for next season.  He was the one that got these players to sign, so he should be the one that coaches them when they get here.  Depending on the recruiting site, these players are labeled at least a three star recruit and on some sites they are four stars.  For Penn State basketball, this is a huge step.  Losing D.J. Newbill will be a tremendous loss for the Nittany Lions, but these young stars could potentially turn this team around. 

Although it is not what most fans want, it is not logical for Penn State to fire this man this year.  Sandy Barbour was not in the wrong for releasing the statement that Chambers’ position is secure for next season because he deserves to get time to work with these major recruits and it there is no point in wasting the money to pay Chambers’ salary along with another salary for whoever replaces him.  These recruits could be the answer to the men’s basketball team’s problem.  There is still hope for Penn State fans next year, so do not give up just yet.

Mandy Bell is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism.  To contact her email amb6857@psu.edu.