Thursday, July 31, 2014
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Penn basketball becomes a national story

Some of the internet's top college basketball writers have weighed in on the Quakers' dismissal of Glen Miller.

Penn basketball becomes a national story

Click here for my earlier post from Jerome Allen's first press conference as Penn head coach.

There has been quite a bit of chatter on the Internet over the last few days about Penn's dismissal of Glen Miller. Here's a roundup of what I've seen so far.

The Providence Journal's Jim Donaldson was surprised that it happened during the season. As his opening line states: "When did the Penn Quakers morph into the New Jersey Nets?"

Brian Delaney, who covers Cornell basketball for the Ithaca Journal, called the move "intriguing."

He writes that "in terms of wins and losses, things had gone about as bad as possible" at Penn, but also says that "the league professes to hold itself to a higher standard. This isn't it."

Speaking of Donahue, the Springfield, Delaware County native features prominently in Jeff Goodman's column on FoxSports.com.

Goodman writes that Donahue "should be at the top of the list" of potential head coaches next season. But he argues that "Donahue has turned Cornell into a better job – at least for the time being," and asserts a viewpoint that "I’m not sure he’d even want the Penn job now."

Ouch.

Goodman says that Allen "will certainly get his share of support" to keep the job, but concludes that current Temple assistand and former Penn guard Matt Langel "could be the ideal choice."

Dick Weiss of the New York Daily News writes that he "would expect Penn to approach Steve Donahue" to take the job. "But you never know," he adds.

On the New York Times' college sports blog, The Quad, Jack Styczynski (take that, Matt Szczur) notes that Glen Miller's departure follows Fordham's firing of Derek Whittenburg.

Styczynski (okay, I copied and pasted that time) spoke with Hofstra coach Tom Pecora about the two early-season firings.

"It is unusual to see that take place," Pecora says. "Colleges don't generally do business like that. That's a pro thing."

Finally, we turn to ESPN.com for two pieces with different views. Andy Katz writes that Penn "likely will be a coveted gig if Allen isn't the choice" after this season. He adds that the program "consistently is a potential spot for high-major programs on the East Coast to play games and at times home-and-home series" because of the Palestra.

Katz also got some really interesting quotes from Phil Martelli and John Chaney.

The other ESPN.com piece is what I consider to be the best piece of analysis I've seen on the situation. Not surprisingly, it comes from Dana O'Neil, who's based here in Philadelphia.

O'Neil writes that the decision "has left me somehow stunned and not surprised at the same time." She goes through why Penn picked Glen Miller to succeed Fran Dunphy, and why the decision didn't work as planned.

She concludes by arguing that hiring Jerome Allen "certainly will rally the fan base and stir the sagging interest in the program and for now, that will qualify as a win for Penn basketball."


A brief edtorial comment on my part if I may. Somebody said to me yesterday that they were surprised that a writer as prominent as Andy Katz was writing about Penn basketball.

What I think that shows is that for as far as Penn basketball has fallen over the last few years, the program still matters to a lot of people.

Nationally, we know that Penn has large alumni bases in New York, Chicago, Boston and other big cities.

Locally, I've heard from fans not only at Penn but at all the other local schools in recent months about how bad things have been at the Palestra. Yesterday, Philly Hoops Insider had the most pageviews in a single day that it's had in its entire history because of a blog post about Penn basketball.

If you're a current Penn student and you're reading this, think about what that means. Many of those photos you see on the walls at the Palestra aren't actually that old.

Steve Bilsky and Jerome Allen both played at Penn and know what it's like when the Quakers are successful. Their charge is to make their alma mater scale the heights again.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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