Penn State men’s basketball has its man. Targeted by Patrick Kraft after an extensive coaching search, pursued over the weekend, and eventually coming to terms with the Nittany Lions, Mike Rhoades has been officially announced as the program’s next head coach on Wednesday afternoon.
Rhoades will become the 15th head coach in the program’s history.
Approved by the university board of trustees compensation committee on Wednesday afternoon, terms of Rhoades’ contract have been released. The new coach will receive an escalating contract of a guaranteed $3.4 million over the next seven years, topping out at $4m in 2029-30. His buyout begins at $15m and reduces by $3m annually for the first five years of the contract.
“We are excited to welcome Mike Rhoades as our head men’s basketball coach,” said Penn State athletic director Patrick Kraft via press release. “He is a veteran head coach who is a proven winner at multiple levels. Mike has been a tremendous recruiter and talent developer throughout his career. As a Pennsylvania native with a strong family history with our University, Mike understands what it means to be a Penn Stater and how impactful it is to be part of Nittany Nation. Mike has a vision of how to build Penn State Basketball into a championship program. We are thrilled to welcome Mike, Jodie, Logan, Chase and Porter to Happy Valley!”
Mike Rhoades resume
Rhoades just wrapped his 19th season as a head coach. He’s got a 373-189 overall record in head coaching stops at Randolph Macon, Rice, and VCU. He’s gone 0-3 overall in NCAA Tournament games, having reached the dance in three of his six seasons with the Rams. Twice he won the Atlantic 10 and in 2019, he was named the conference’s coach of the year.
Upon accepting the job, Rhoades thanked his supporters and the team that brought him into the program. Then, he turned his attention to what’s next for the Nittany Lions.
“We will be bold, different and aggressive moving our program forward,” Rhoades said. “We will play with great energy and excitement while always being relentless in our pursuit of making this basketball family into something special. I can’t wait to get to work.”
Wednesday afternoon, VCU thanked Rhoades in a goodbye statement after spending 11 years with the program both in an assistant and head coaching role.
Rhoades is set to be introduced to the media, Penn State donors, and fans on Thursday as he prepares to take over a program in a state of flux. Following the abrupt departure of Micah Shrewsberry one week ago to Notre Dame, the Nittany Lions look radically different already.
The three-man Class of 2023 is no more as Carey Booth, Logan Imes, and Braeden Shrewsberry have all requested scholarship letter of intent releases. Four players have already hit the transfer portal in Jameel Brown, Evan Mahaffey, Dallion Johnson, and Caleb Dorsey. And six players are graduating and moving on from last year’s team. That includes the top five scorers in Jalen Pickett, Seth Lundy, Andrew Funk, Camren Wynter, and Myles Dread.
Penn State presently has three scholarship players still accounted for in Kebba Njie, Kanye Clary, and Demetrius Lilley. All portal players and released commitments, of course, could reconsider, however.
Upon detailing the news early Wednesday morning, three top priorities and next steps were outlined for Rhoades. Pursuing transfer opportunities from a VCU team that finished 27-8 overall, with a 15-3 mark in the A10, is high.
Standout performers for the Rams last season included the A10 Player of the Year in guard Ace Baldwin. He led the team in scoring with 12.7 points per game. Other top performers with eligibility remaining include On3 Top 150 true freshmen Christian Fermin and Fats Billups. Talented sophomores Jalen DeLoach and Jayden Dunn also highlight the roster.