Penn State basketball begins its season at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions, entering their first campaign under the direction of new head coach Mike Rhoades, will put their aspirations on the hardwood to the test.
Before that journey gets started, though, the program has a broader, long-term process playing out concurrently.
Announced on Monday afternoon, Penn State basketball’s NIL support structure has taken its biggest step to date. Under the umbrella of Happy Valley United, the collective in place for all of Penn State athletics, a new, basketball-specific arm of the organization has been formed. And, importantly, it is welcoming a new general manager to head up its development efforts.
Pat Flannery, storied head coach at Bucknell and the former coach of Rhoades at Lebanon Valley College, has accepted the position to lead More To Give. Flannery begins in the role as general manager for the club, marking an important step forward for the name, image, and likeness operations meant to support the Penn State men’s basketball program.
And, as an opportunity to support both Penn State basketball and Rhoades, it’s one Flannery is thrilled to embark upon.
“It really comes down to one thing, my relationship with Coach Rhoades and our friendship,” said Flannery. “He’s got an exciting time at Penn State. Things have changed in the college world and it’s an opportunity to be able to help Michael. But also, help these kids, help the program, and help Penn State at large.
“What an unbelievable opportunity for a Pennsylvania kid. And to have that relationship with their head coach, nobody cares more for and a deeper relationship. So when I was asked to consider this… each week it got a little further. There’s a couple of really good recruiters that were involved in this. And I was on the other end of it. So here I am, I’m very, very excited.”
Penn State hoops NIL takes important step
The move serves as a momentum-builder for Rhoades and the Penn State basketball program in two distinct areas.
Both immediate in nature, Flannery has experience in fundraising and development for Bucknell following his retirement from basketball in 2008. Boasting a wide network of resources capable of impacting Penn State basketball’s NIL efforts, his leadership will be important to helping solidify a critical area of need in today’s college basketball.
“NIL is an incredibly important part of building our program to win championships,” Rhoades said via press release. “We have made our program better with the addition of Pat Flannery. He knows what it takes to build a winning and sustainable program on and off court. His leadership in the area of program building and fundraising will be game changing for our program. I’m more than excited to get back with Pat and using our shared Pennsylvania ties to build something special.”
Rhoades to rely on Flannery
Further, after a coaching career that included three Patriot League championships, three, Coach of the Year honors, and two trips to the NCAA Tournament, Flannery is also excited to serve as a close resource for Rhoades.
Presented with an opportunity in which he could reconnect with his former point guard for the Dutchmen as well as be around the Nittany Lion program as it moves forward under Rhoades’ direction, Flannery said it fired him up.
“That was a big part of these conversations,” he said. “Some of the game has changed for me. But a lot of the game is the same. It’s about kids and about recognition and about changing and about some of the things that they do.
“That was a part of it that had to be a part of this whole position because that is still a love of mine. You never you never leave the profession once you’re in it, and I enjoy that.”
Now named GM of More To Give, Flannery has that opportunity.