The worst kept secret in America is finally official. Here’s the release from Penn State announcing the Mike Rhoades hiring:
Penn State Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Patrick Kraft announced Wednesday the hiring of VCU head coach Mike Rhoades as the Peter and Ann Tombros Endowed Men’s Basketball Head Coach. In 19 seasons as a collegiate head coach, Rhoades, a Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania native, has produced a 373-189 record, a winning percentage of .664, seven NCAA Tournament appearances and nine national postseason appearances.
Rhoades, whose contract was approved by the Board of Trustees Wednesday, becomes the 15th men’s basketball head coach in Penn State history. Rhoades will be formally introduced in a press conference on Thursday, March 30, at 2:30 p.m., which will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network.
“We are excited to welcome Mike Rhoades as our head men’s basketball coach,” said Kraft. “He is a veteran head coach who is a proven winner at multiple levels. Mike has been a tremendous recruiter and talent developer throughout his career. As a Pennsylvania native with a strong family history with our University, Mike understands what it means to be a Penn Stater and how impactful it is to be part of Nittany Nation. Mike has a vision of how to build Penn State Basketball into a championship program. We are thrilled to welcome Mike, Jodie, Logan, Chase and Porter to Happy Valley!”
“It’s with great honor and excitement to be Penn State’s Peter and Ann Tombros Endowed Men’s Basketball Head Coach. I would like to thank Dr. Bendapudi, Pat Kraft and Michael Wade Smith for their faith in me and the opportunity to lead this great program,” said Rhoades. “We will be bold, different and aggressive moving our program forward. 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.”
Rhoades comes to Penn State following a six-year stint as the head coach at VCU in which he guided the Rams to three NCAA Tournament appearances, a 129-60 overall record and 72-32 Atlantic 10 Conference record. He is the fourth-winningest coach in VCU history. Rhoades developed a pair of Atlantic 10 Players of the Year and 13 all-conference selections throughout his six years in Richmond. On the recruiting trail, Rhoades has signed the Atlantic 10’s top-ranked recruiting class in three of the past four years. In his time as an assistant and head coach at VCU, he was responsible for signing eight of the top nine all-time Ram recruits per 247Sports.
The Rams won both the Atlantic 10 regular-season and tournament championships during the 2022-23 season, making their third NCAA Tournament appearance under Rhoades and finishing 27-8 overall. The Rams’ 27 wins were the most under Rhoades and the most for VCU since the 2012-13 season. Rhoades mentored VCU junior point guard Ace Baldwin Jr. to Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the 2022-23 season.
In just his second season in 2018-19, Rhoades led the Rams back to the NCAA Tournament, as well as their first Atlantic 10 Conference outright regular-season championship. VCU’s 25 total wins, including 16 conference victories, tied program regular-season marks. For his efforts, he was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year and was a finalist for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year award. Rhoades led the Rams back to the NCAA Tournament in 2020-21 following a 19-7 campaign in which the Black and Gold reached the A-10 Championship Game.
Under Rhoades tutelage, VCU saw players selected in back-to-back NBA Drafts, when Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland was selected 26th overall by the Denver Nuggets in 2021, and Vince Williams Jr. was picked 47th overall by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2022. Justin Tillman also spent time with the Atlanta Hawks active roster during the 2021-22 season. Additionally, former VCU players Larry Sanders, Troy Daniels, Briante Weber and Treveon Graham, who each played for Rhoades during his days as an assistant coach at VCU from 2009-14, all spent time in the NBA. Mo Alie-Cox played basketball for Rhoades at VCU and has gone on to be a tight end for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts.
Prior to his six years in the head chair at VCU, Rhoades engineered a stunning turnaround at Rice as head coach of the Owls from 2014-17. Rhoades led Rice to its first 20-win campaign since 2003-04 and the program’s first postseason appearance since 2011-12. Rice’s 23-12 mark in 2016-17 was an 11-win improvement over the 2015-16 season and the 23 wins were the second-most in Owls’ history. Rhoades assumed the reins at Rice in 2014-15 and led the school to an immediate five-win improvement. The Owls were a combined 12-49 in the two seasons prior to his arrival.
Rhoades spent 2009-14 as an assistant coach and associate head coach at VCU prior to taking the head coaching job at Rice. VCU reached the NCAA Tournament four times and appeared in the postseason all five years of that stretch. The Rams were 137-46 during that period and won the 2012 CAA Championship. He was integral in recruiting and developing the players that would lead the Rams to a historic Final Four appearance in 2010-11. In 2012, after VCU toppled Wichita State in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, Rhoades was named one of the top 10 assistant coaches under 40 in the country by ESPN.com.
Prior to his VCU tenure, Rhoades enjoyed a wildly successful run at Division III Randolph-Macon in Ashland, Virginia. In 10 seasons as head coach of the Yellow Jackets, Rhoades compiled a 197-76 record (.722 win percentage) and led RMC to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including trips to the Sweet 16 in 2002 and 2003. Rhoades’ teams won six Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championships and earned national No. 1 rankings in two seasons. He was named ODAC Coach of the Year in three-straight seasons from 2001-03, coached three ODAC Players of the Year, five ODAC Freshmen of the Year, as well as 17 All-ODAC selections. In 2003, he was named NABC South District Coach of the Year and State Coach of the Year by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
He began his coaching career at age 23 as an assistant at Randolph-Macon in 1996 under long-time head coach Hal Nunnally. The Yellow Jackets posted winning records in all three seasons with Rhoades on staff before he was elevated to head coach in 1999 at age 25.
Rhoades played collegiately under coaches Pat Flannery and Brad McAlester at Lebanon Valley College in his home state of Pennsylvania. Rhoades was named guided the Flying Dutchmen to the 1994 NCAA Division III National Championship with a 66-59 overtime win over NYU. He was named the tournament’s Co-Outstanding Player. The entire team was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in October 2014, the 20th anniversary of the title. The guard was the USA Today Division III National Player of the Year in 1995, two-time NABC All-American, three-time NABC All-Region and three-time Middle Atlantic Conference Player of the Year. He was the school’s all-time scoring leader (2,050) until 1999, but still holds Lebanon Valley records in free-throw percentage (.845), assists (668) and steals (212). His No. 5 jersey is one of five basketball jerseys retired by LVC.
Rhoades is a member of the Mahanoy Area High School Hall of Fame, Lebanon Valley College Hall of Fame (team and individual), Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Hall of Fame, Central Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame, Eastern Chapter Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and Jerry Wolman, Northern Anthracite Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Rhoades graduated from Lebanon Valley with a degree in history in 1995 and earned his masters from VCU’s Center for Sport Leadership in 2002.
The Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania native and his wife, Jodie, have two sons, Logan and Chase, and one daughter, Porter.
The Mike Rhoades File
Hometown: Mahanoy City, Pa.
High School: Mahanoy Area
College: Lebanon Valley College (Pa.), 1995 (History); VCU Center for Sport Leadership, 2002
Family: Wife: Jodie; Sons: Logan, Chase; Daughter: Porter
1991-95, Lebanon Valley College
2017-23: Head Coach, VCU (129-61; .679)
2014-17: Head Coach, Rice (47-52; .475)
2011-14: Associate Head Coach, VCU
2009-11: Assistant Coach, VCU
1999-2009: Head Coach, Randolph-Macon College (197-76; .722)
1996-99: Assistant Coach, Randolph-Macon College
Head Coach Career Record (19 seasons): 373-189 (.664)
Seven NCAA Tournament appearances as a head coach
Nine postseason appearances as a head coach
12 NCAA Tournament appearances throughout coaching career
15 postseason appearances throughout coaching career
Prominent Players Coached
Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland – VCU, 2021 NBA Draft pick
Vince Williams Jr. – VCU, 2022 NBA Draft pick
Justin Tillman – VCU, 2021-22 Atlanta Hawks
Larry Sanders – VCU, 2010 NBA Draft pick
Troy Daniels – VCU, 2013-20 NBA player
Briante Weber – VCU, 2016-18 NBA player
Treveon Graham – VCU, 2015-20 NBA player
Mo Alie-Cox – VCU, 2018-22 Tight End for Indianapolis Colts