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Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Chambers wants new Pitt-Penn State rivalry

By Eamonn Brennan

When you're a new, young head coach at a place like Penn State -- whose last coach saw Navy as a more desirable position and is going to be rebuilding for at least a few years -- you have to bring some added excitement. Pat Chambers is a pretty exciting guy. He's got great stories. Penn State fans seem to be excited about him. So far, so good.

Along with all of this stuff comes ideas. New, fresh ideas, stuff your program hasn't done in a while that can boost its profile and shake up the status quo. For Penn State and Chambers, that impulse led to his hope of, yes, reviving Penn State's long-dormant rivalry with cross-state foe Pittsburgh. Chambers told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (hat tip: The Dagger) that he likes Pitt coach Jamie Dixon and would love to reengage the old arch-enemies in a nonconference rivalry series at some point in the future. Just maybe not right away.
"I would like a rivalry," Chambers said. "I think [Pitt] would be great. I think Pennsylvania would come out and watch that game.

"Am I trying to schedule that game next year? Probably not. But in the future? Yes."

See? This is the reason you hire a guy like Chambers. Not only does he provide all those personality traits we media types tend to find very, very important in new coaching hires -- excitement, youth, energy, blah blah blah -- but he also happens to be very familiar with the Pennsylvania sporting scene. Penn State and Pittsburgh may not revive their football rivalry anytime soon, but a hoops reincarnation would be the next best thing. It would also be strategically helpful to Penn State, which desperately needs to improve its profile in and around Pittsburgh and Philadelphia if it wants to start luring some east coast talent to play at a nascent hoops entity in the Big Ten.

Of course, the rivalry isn't helping anybody if it begins this year. Pittsburgh's really good. Penn State is not. In a few years? Hey, you never know.