Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Penn State Baseball

‘He’s A Hoophead’: Penn State HC Mike Rhoades has had ‘A Lot of Fun’ Working With Joe Crispin

Joe Crispin and Titus Ivory during the magical run to the Sweet 16 in 2001.

Mike Rhoades’ first big move as Penn State basketball’s head coach was to hire a program legend to the staff. 

Joe Crispin is one of the greatest players in Penn State history. 

He played from 1997-2001 and is the fourth-leading scorer in program history more than 22 years after playing his last college game, finishing 14 points shy of 2,000. He’s also fourth all-time in made 3-pointers and fifth in assists.

Crispin’s last season with Penn State basketball was his biggest.

In the 2000-01 season, Crispin averaged 19.5 points and 3.3 assists per game, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. That season is best remembered by Penn State fans for the team’s run to the Sweet 16, the last time the school has advanced that far. 

Crispin scored 21 points in seventh-seeded Penn State’s upset of second-seeded North Carolina in the Round of 32. Until this past March, that was Penn State’s most recent NCAA Tournament win.

After leaving Penn State, Crispin moved on to coaching. He was the head coach at Division III Rowan from 2026-this past March when Rhoades hired him to the staff the day he himself officially became Penn State’s boss. At Rowan, Crispin’s offenses electrified, and the proof is in the numbers. Here are Rowan’s points per game averages throughout Crispin’s tenure. 

2016-17: 87.5

2017-18: 82

2018-19: 85.3

2019-20: 84.5

2021-22: 84.5

2022-23: 91.4

Now, Crispin is Penn State’s assistant to the head coach and unofficial offense coordinator.

Penn State isn’t putting up nearly the numbers that Rowan did thus far, but that’s to be expected. The program, as a whole, is in transition, and currently averaging 77.5 points per game, led by Kanye Clary.

Rhoades loves working with him Crispin thus far. He’s excited for the future

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Rhoades told reporters via Zoom Tuesday. “Great respect for Joe, and he’s hit it off. I mean, he goes about life and the game very much like the rest of our staff. Family and basketball, and that’s how we all are around here. He shows that off every day.”

Clary has been Penn State’s biggest individual success story this season.

Last season, Clary averaged 3.7 points per game. Through 13 games this year, he’s averaging 18.2. 

A big part of this is due to the work Clary has put in and the natural progression a player makes from his first college season to his second one. 

But Crispin has helped, as well. 

Rhoades said Crispin has helped Clary learn how to use and get open off of ball screens. 

He also feels that Crispin has done a great job of relating with Penn State’s team. 

“He’s a great communicator with our players, and I think that’s really helped us,” Rhoades said. “He’s brought some new things to our program. 

Rhoades is also thankful for the personal relationship he has with Crispin.

“There’s things he and I will talk about,” Rhoades said, “and we might not have the answers, but he’ll go home and I’ll go home and we’ll come back the next day and figure out the answers. He’s a hoop-head like the rest of us, just trying to find what are things that are going to help this team win, and I love it. I love a different approach, I love his personality, he loves Penn State, he and his family love Penn State. 

Crispin is Penn State through and through, as is his family. 

His younger brother, Jon, was teammates with Joe for two seasons– including that ’01 tournament run, before transferring to UCLA– and today, is a color analyst for ESPN, but still follows PSU closely. 

His wife, Erin, was a soccer player at Penn State. So for Rhoades, this position is more than “just a job,” to Crispin. 

“It means a lot to him,” Rhoades said, “and you want guys like that. And it’s been a lot of fun watching him with the rest of our staff and everyone building a relationship with him.”

More from Nittany Sports Now

Penn State Basketball

0 Penn State basketball will be taking on a Power Five program near the beginning of the season. Per a report by college basketball...

Penn State Basketball

0 Penn State basketball has added its second commitment of the transfer portal season thus far. the first one— Xavier transfer and 6-foot-8 forward...

Penn State Basketball Recruiting

1 Penn State coach Mike Rhoades is busy in the transfer portal attempting to strengthen his roster for the 2024-25 season. PSU has already...

Penn State Basketball

1 Penn State basketball has been in contact with a 7-footer from St. Joe’s. His name is Christ Essando. Per a report by Jamie...