PSU hires Rhoades as coach; VCU lands Odom

Penn State has hired VCU‘s Mike Rhoades as the school’s new men’s basketball coach.

Penn State announced Wednesday that its board of trustees has approved a seven-year contract for Rhoades, who will make $25.9 million in total guarantees and can earn just over $1 million in additional incentives.

Penn State vice president of athletics Patrick Kraft said Wednesday in a statement that Rhoades is a “proven winner at multiple levels” and “a tremendous recruiter and talent developer throughout his career.”

Sources told ESPN that Rhoades informed the VCU team of his decision during a meeting Wednesday afternoon. As the drama over Rhoades leaving played out the past few days, VCU quietly ran a search to replace him and announced on Wednesday that it hired Utah State’s Ryan Odom.

VCU athletic director Ed McLaughlin spoke to multiple candidates in the past few days in preparation of Rhoades leaving for Penn State, according to sources.

Rhoades has continued the recent tradition of consistent success at VCU, which is widely regarded as the best job in the Atlantic 10. The Rams have reached the NCAA tournament in three of the past four years the event has been held, and Rhoades is 129-61 in six seasons at VCU.

Rhoades would replace Micah Shrewsberry, who left for Notre Dame and will be formally introduced Thursday. Shrewsberry led Penn State to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011 and the school’s first tournament victory since 2001.

“We will be bold, different and aggressive moving our program forward,” Rhoades said in a statement released by the school. “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.”

The hire of Rhoades would be a significant one, as he has reached as many NCAA tournaments at VCU in the past four years as Penn State has in the past two decades. The risk for Rhoades is that he’s leaving what is considered a high-end basketball job for a Penn State job that’s considered one of the lower-end positions in the Big Ten.

Rhoades was making nearly $1.7 million at VCU and is expected to be able to nearly double that at Penn State. It would mark yet another big hire for the Big Ten, which, along with the SEC, has reaped the benefits of lucrative television contracts in recent years.

Before VCU, Rhoades worked three years as the head coach at Rice, where he went 23-12 in his final season before being hired by the Rams. It marked a return to VCU for Rhoades, who was an associate head coach there from 2009 to 2014 under Shaka Smart.

Odom’s ties to the mid-Atlantic were a big allure in him emerging as the top candidate, as he has worked as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech and American and as the head coach at UMBC. While at UMBC, he coached the Retrievers in the first upset by a No. 16 seed over a No. 1 seed in men’s NCAA tournament history, toppling top-seeded Virginia in March 2018.

Odom and McLaughlin worked together at American in the early 2000s, when McLaughlin worked as an associate athletic director and Odom as an assistant coach for Jeff Jones from 2000 to 2003.

ESPN’s Jeff Borzello contributed to this report.

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