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Coaching search: PSU should at least consider Saint Francis’ Rob Krimmel

Photo by Saint Francis Athletics: Rob Krimmel

I hope AD Sandy Barbour was watching the ACC Network last night around 8:45, as Saint Francis was on the verge of pulling off a major upset at Pitt. If so, Barbour would have been able to watch an outstanding young coach who I believe would do a good job if he got the opportunity to coach Penn State.

Saint Francis’ Rob Krimmel is an excellent basketball coach. He is an excellent recruiter. He is excellent at developing talent within his program from freshman to senior season. He is excellent at building relationships. He is excellent at having his team ready to play. He is excellent with in-game decisions.

Most importantly, Rob Krimmel is a fantastic human being.

I’ve been a sportswriter for nearly 30 years — covering Saint Francis for 21 of those years — and I can honestly say that I have as much respect for Rob as any person I’ve ever dealt with in this business.

Oh, by the way, Krimmel is a State College native. So for him to come home to coach Penn State would be a really neat story.

Now look, I’m not talking about some kind of charity thing here, where hiring the local guy would be the right decision simply because he’s a local guy.

Krimmel deserves that kind of opportunity based on basketball reasons every bit as much as personal reasons. He took over an incredibly tough situation at Saint Francis in 2012 and has succeeded at something that seemed impossible — turned the Red Flash into a consistent and perennial contender in the NEC.

Here’s the deal, though.

Even though I believe Krimmel could do a good job at Penn State, I don’t believe he can actually get the job. Not right now.

It would be a huge jump from the Northeast Conference to the Big Ten, and PSU would have a hard time justifying that kind of hire to a large portion of its fan base. Because, in many ways, a large portion of the fan base believes that the Penn State basketball job is something that it is not.

They believe PSU should be able to go out and hire a big-name coach, pay him a lot of money and see immediate results.

That’s not going to happen. That can’t happen.

Penn State doesn’t have the kind of money to hire someone like that. And a coach who’s that highly thought of would be able to get a better job than Penn State, plain and simple.

Krimmel is very happy at Saint Francis, his alma mater. He loves the school and the community. His family loves it. He’s not in this for the money. He’s told me several times he’s not looking to leave and that the money part doesn’t matter.

But Penn State could be the one place he probably would leave for, since it’s right here and he wouldn’t have to uproot his family.

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I believe Krimmel makes less than $200,000 a year at Saint Francis. He could make close to a million at PSU, still live locally where his family loves it and return to his hometown with a chance to try and turn the Nittany Lions into a consistent winner.

Would he be a “splash” hire?

No.

Would many PSU fans question the hire, saying, “Who is this guy and why can’t Penn State do any better than the former coach at Saint Francis?”

Yes.

One big knock on Krimmel is that he’s never been to the NCAA Tournament. That’s a valid point, and even though he’s come close numerous times at Saint Francis, he hasn’t been able to win the one big game he’s needed to win to go dancing.

That would be brought up, I’m sure, by PSU fans who would be critical of such a hire.

So again, I just don’t believe Krimmel can actually get the Penn State job right now.

But at the very least he deserves to be looked at and interviewed by Barbour and the search committee. If Krimmel were to get that far in the process, then the folks doing the hiring at Penn State would see that they’ve got a tremendous candidate right in front of them.

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Cory Giger is a 15-year veteran of the Penn State beat and a journalist with 28 years of experience. He has won more than 100 state and national journalism awards during his career, plus he's a voter for the Heisman Trophy in football and Wooden Award in basketball.

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