The panel interviewing Curley included FightOnState.com's Mark Brennan, Genaro Armas of the Associated Press, Jeff Rice of the Centre Daily Times, Pat Boland of ESPN Radio 1450 and Nate Bauer of Blue White Illustrated.
PSU Hoops/Ed DeChellis.
Joe Paterno and more.
Q. Talk about the post-season resume. What needs to realistically happen?
Obviously, we need to have a couple more victories to move forward. We're certainly optimistic about that. We think that's a real possibility and we're looking forward to the (Big Ten) Tournament. We're coming off a great win last night, a lot of energy and enthusiasm. I think our young players have stepped up and are playing well given the circumstances Ed (DeChellis) and the staff found themselves in. We're very hopeful that we can do well at the tournament and put ourselves in position for post-season play.
Q. What are your thoughts on the arrival of the CBI (College Basketball Invitational)? Is that something athletic directors have thought much about and how it plays into post-season play?
Right now we're just waiting to see how it all plays out. I don't think anybody has a real good feel of how that will be. I think it's pretty clear that there have been a lot of really good, competitive teams that have been left out of the NCAA Tournament and also the NIT Tournament. Each year it has gotten tougher, as they reduce the teams in the NIT, and it has left some people out. So I think we're all in just a wait and see mode, and are waiting to see how it's all going to play out and how viable the tournament will be. It's certainly there and we'll see how this year goes.
Q. What are your goals for the program? Not just what happens on the floor, but all facets? What are your hopes for each year? How has this year been? Does it stack up?
Our goal is to have the best program possible. Wins and losses are very important and we've made progress in that area. We wish we had more but right now we think we've made good progress given some of the circumstances that we faced. I think one of the real positive things about the program right now, and in all areas of the program, is that the coaching staff has continued to build this program each year and I think more of the pieces are coming together. When you look at the program from all of the different aspects, whether it be the record that our young people are doing in the classroom, graduating student-athletes out there doing community service, or what Ed and the staff have done with Coaches vs. Cancer. I don't think there are too many other programs in the country that do that. I think this year we are going to raise over $200,000 and have a community that's very involved in the Coaches vs. Cancer program that our players are involved in. We've not had any of our basketball student-athletes have any misconducts and that's been since the time Ed has been here. So when you put all of those factors together, I think he's built a really solid foundation for the program, which is what we thought he'd do when we hired him and he's put us in a position now where I think you'll start to see a lot of growth in the program as we are able to continue to add more incoming recruits and mix in with what we already have. I think bright days are ahead and there are going to be a lot of fun Saturdays and Wednesday nights.
Q. Has the inability to get into the NCAA Tournament been frustrating to you? To the program? That is how a lot of people judge the success of failure of the program, right or wrong.
Well, it is a big measure of any program. I hope people look at more than just that but it certainly is a big piece of it. I think Ed will be the first to tell you that we were disappointed last year when we didn't make more progress and I think we were all very optimistic that that was going to happen. Perhaps there were a lot of reasons for that. Geary going down early in the year with his hand injury certainly didn't help us with that and then this year with the challenges that we've faced, but we would like to see post-season play. We all hoped that it would've been a little bit quicker, but I'm really optimistic about the job he's done. I sat here yesterday and thought how resilient the student-athletes have been and how they've responded to the coaching staff and their incredible job given the circumstances and I just like our young players. The thing I liked about Ed back in the day (when he was a Penn State assistant coach) is I liked the type of student-athletes he recruits. I think they are a great fit for Penn State. I think they represent us well and I just see him continuing to add more and more of those athletes and if we stay with him and support him, we're going to see continued growth in the program.
Q. It sounds like you're giving him the vote of confidence. Do you have to give him the vote of confidence?
I think anyone that saw this team and again, given the circumstances and the way they've responded and the big wins we've had, I think the program is heading in a great direction. I'm just real excited about the future.
Q. One thing you can't control is the distribution of the Big Ten Network. A lot of the fans still have not been able to see a lot of the Penn State basketball because they don't have the network. Do you see that changing anytime soon? What are you thoughts and lack of exposure the network has received this year?
I'm not directly involved in negotiations with the Big Ten Network and the various cable companies. I just know that those continue and I'm sure that the people involved are working real hard to get that resolved. Television exposure at our level is very important. We're very hopeful that things will continue to progress in that area. We've got tremendous exposure right now on the Big Ten Network and sometimes we're frustrated here locally because you can't see the games, but there are a lot of people across the country that have access and have indicated what a great product it is and how nice it is to not only see Penn State basketball, but all of our sports. In recruiting, television is certainly important and so we're very optimistic that we'll continue to make progress there and it will assist us in our efforts to recruit nationally because that's literally where we are right now with our basketball recruiting and most of our sports.
Q. Is there going to be a time when maybe the institutions and the Network will get together to assess where everything has gone and where everything is heading after the first year of competition and to see what maybe can be done to break this gridlock?
At the end of every year we sit down and try to evaluate not just the television aspect of it, but also our approach to scheduling, the competitive scene and recruiting. We have a retreat in May and all of my colleagues in the Big Ten, we'll gather and try to address all of those things. We are constantly monitoring and evaluating that and trying to work with the various entities that we need to work with to make sure that we put forth the best effort to enable our student-athletes and coaches to be successful.
Q. Are you happy with the turnout and support of the team in the last month? You won five straight.
I wish yesterday's game would have been when that students were here. We would have had a sell out crowd. From that standpoint I wish it was a little different. The fact of the matter is I think this year we had the largest attendance since we opened up the Jordan Center and so that's positive and we are moving in the right direction. We are having more people seeing the games. I think what's really been encouraging is our student support. It's just been outstanding this year and I look for that to continue. I think they are enjoying the environment here in the Jordan Center and also the product on the court and I don't know how you can't be excited with these young kids in the program. So, overall we are very excited and we're hoping to continue to build on it and expand on our attendance.
Q. Joe (Paterno) is going into the last year of his contract. Are you looking to get something done in terms of extension or plan for the future?
We're just visiting in the off-season and when we have something to report, we will. We don't have any specific timetables. We've had some calendar issues in terms of getting together. Those will be resolved. We've already met once and will continue to meet and keep our discussions going.
Q. What about the women's basketball program? Obviously they had a tough ending of the year. What are your thoughts?
I've been really pleased with the transition with Coquese (Washington) and her staff. Obviously, the last part of the calendar didn't work in our direction. I really just see good things there. We're all frustrated it didn't end on a better note. Everything I can tell, she's got the makings of everything we thought she could do when we hired her.
Q. You said you met once with Joe. Can you go into any detail?
No, I really don't want to go into detail. We indicated we'd get together and we have since that last time we talked. Those discussions are going to continue. Once we feel like we have something to report, we will at that time.
Q. Is it important to get something done by spring practice?
I don't think there's any deadline that's super imperative right now. Obviously when spring practice starts he gets pretty tied-up and pretty focused, but I wouldn't put a deadline on it.
Q. Back to basketball. A lot of upper level schools spend a lot of money that make it easy for the coaches to go out and recruit that maybe the fans aren't aware of. Is that like keeping up with the Jones'? Do you feel like you have to spend like the big dogs to be with the big dogs in some of these areas?
Well, we need to remain nationally competitive in all areas, whether that's in the recruiting budget, scheduling budget, travel budget or all of those things. We're always checking the marketplace to make sure we're giving the coaches, and in this case Ed, the resources to be able to go out and recruit and be able to attract the best talent to our program. Everyone has a little different scenario based on geographic location and access to major airports. All of those things are taken into consideration. If Ed needs to get to an airport to get to where he needs to go, he has access to that. We feel like we've supported him and that he's got the resources to do what any other school is doing on a day-to-day basis.
Q. You mentioned scheduling budget. The cost of the guaranteed games have gone up considerably in price and smaller schools want more and more because they know that institutions like Penn State are willing to pay the price to bring them in. Is that right?
Yes, that is exactly right and we've seen that in both football and basketball. Right now those guarantees are continuing to escalate. It is one of the biggest concerns administrators have because the cost continues to rise. It is what it is and so we've got to pay fare market value to get the teams here and that's what we're doing.