VCU's Mike Rhoades has agreed to become the next basketball coach at Penn State, the school announced on Wednesday. Penn State made Rhoades its primary target over the weekend, sources told CBS Sports, and an agreement was reached on Wednesday. Rhoades replaces former Penn State coach Micah Shrewsberry, who recently accepted the head-coaching position at Notre Dame.
Rhoades agreed to a seven-year, nearly $25 million contract to lead Penn State's program, one source said.
Rhoades has somewhat-local ties to Penn State. He was a two-time All-American at Pennsylvania-based Lebanon Valley College and won a D-III national championship as a player in 1994.
"It's with great honor and excitement to be Penn State's Peter and Ann Tombros Endowed Men's Basketball Head Coach. I would like to thank Dr. Bendapudi, Pat Kraft and Michael Wade Smith for their faith in me and the opportunity to lead this great program," Rhoades said in a statement. "We will be bold, different and aggressive moving our program forward. 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."
VCU went 129-61 on Rhoades' watch. It also made three of the past four NCAA Tournaments, though it never played in the 2021 Big Dance on account of COVID positives within the program prompting the team to be removed from competition prior to playing its first round game. His teams were known for playing rugged defense; the Rams finished among the top-15 teams nationally in defensive efficiency in four of his five seasons, per KenPom.com. VCU won the A-10 Tournament to secure an automatic bid in this year's Big Dance before falling 63-51 to No. 5 seed Saint Mary's in the first round.
With Rhoades' departure, each of VCU's past five coaches have left for power conference gigs after leading the Rams to at least one NCAA Tournament. The program has become one of the best in the mid-major ranks over the past two decades. Jeff Capel left for the Oklahoma job, Anthony Grant for Alabama, Shaka Smart to Texas and Will Wade went to LSU. Exacerbating circumstances, the A-10 was a one-bid league this season, the first time that happened since 2005.
Prior to his tenures at VCU and Rice, Rhoades was VCU's associate head coach for five seasons and the head coach at Division III Randolph-Macon for 10 seasons, leading the program to a 197-76 mark during his tenure. Shrewsberry left Penn State last week, after two seasons, to be the coach at Notre Dame.
"We are excited to welcome Mike Rhoades as our head men's basketball coach," Penn State athletic director Pat Kraft said. "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!"
The Nittany Lions won an NCAA Tournament game this year for the first time since 2001. PSU finished the season 23-14 and made its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2011. The program's run under Shrewsberry was highlighted by a run to the Big Ten Tournament title game and a first-round win over No. 7 seed Texas A&M in the first round of the Big Dance. PSU also took No. 2 seed Texas down to the wire in the second round before falling 71-66.