STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) — Penn State officially introduced new head men’s basketball coach Mike Rhoades in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
Rhoades spent the last six seasons as the head coach at VCU, but to coach in his home state of Pennsylvania is a dream come true.
“It’s a cool place number one. Who wouldn’t want to be here,” said Rhoades. “And then you get to coach basketball here? I mean, I’m going to wake up tomorrow and be the head coach of Penn State every day and coach basketball and help young people pursue their dreams? Are you crazy? Why not? And why not now? And that’s what I’m excited about.”
Rhoades reportedly a seven-year contract. A native of Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania, Rhoades played collegiately at Lebanon Valley College where he helped lead the Dutchmen to a Division lll national title in 1994. He was also named the USA Today’s National Player of the Year in 1995.
His wife, Jodie, played field hockey at LVC. On their way to Penn State it was a “pinch me” moment.
“We were flying up and we just shaking our head with smiles on our faces like, ‘can you believe this’ And we had a lot of that. We had a lot of tears this week. Sad tears of leaving a place we love, but happy tears of this is going to be so much fun,” said Rhoades. “I’ve got texts and calls from all my boys at Lebanon Valley that I played with and won a national championship with… Just so much cool stuff.”
Rhoades identified three key pillars to his vision of Penn State basketball: bold, different, and aggressive. He said he plans to build the Nittany Lions into a program that sustains long-terms success isn’t of getting hot here and there.
Rhoades joins the Nittany Lions after leading VCU with an overall record of 129-61. This past season, Rhoades and VCU won the Atlantic 10 conference championship and into the NCAA Tournament as a 12-seed. They fell to Saint Mary’s in the first round.