The Passion of Patrick Chambers
First-year b-ball coach grabs a handful of firsts| From Commonwealth | By Art Jahnke
“You just move down the bench a few inches, and you’re in the seat where every decision is a final decision,” says Patrick Chambers (far right), BU men’s basketball head coach.
There were three things athletics director Mike Lynch liked about Patrick Chambers when they met last year to talk about the men’s basketball head coaching slot at BU.
Chambers had been around: he was the associate head coach at Villanova, he’d worked in sales and marketing, and he had a few years on most of the others Lynch had been talking to. Plus, Chambers was extremely well prepared for the interview; he clearly was a guy who did the work.
“But what really knocked me over,” recalls Lynch, “was his passion.”
The passion of Patrick Chambers, whose five years with the Wildcats included four NCAA appearances and a place in the final four, has become a familiar element of Terrier men’s basketball games. That and the work ethic Lynch admired fueled a minor renaissance for the long-struggling team, propelling the Terriers to the America East finals for the first time since 2003 and to their first twenty-win season since 2004.
Chambers admits it wasn’t easy, particularly when it came to making tough decisions quickly.
“You just move down the bench a few inches, and you’re in the seat where every decision is a final decision,” says the former associate coach. “Suddenly you are no longer offering an opinion, so you’d better really think through every situation and be prepared for the consequences.”
From the moment he accepted the job, he says, failure was not an option.
“When you take a job at BU there are high expectations,” he says. “The bar has already been set. You are expected to win.” Chambers did that twenty-one times last season, against fourteen losses.
He had big-time help. Guard Corey Lowe (SHA’10) was AE’s leading scorer, at 19.9 points per game, and BU’s all-time leader in three-pointers. And AE 2007 Rookie of the Year, guard Tyler Morris (SMG’10), at times seemed capable of magic. In the season opener at Iona, Morris scored twenty-one points on three-pointers and shot eight for ten from the line.
Photographs by Steve McLaughlin, BU Athletics
Chambers describes him as “the heart and soul of the team.”
In turn, Morris says of Chambers, “He’s got an incredibly positive vibe, not just with the team, but approaching people in his everyday life.”
He believes that Chambers’s refusal to yield to adversity helped the team advance farther than anyone would have expected as the season began.
“I broke my hand,” he recalls. “Corey was out for a couple of games, but no matter what, coach just kept reiterating that we had to keep working hard, keep plugging, create good habits.”
Those habits should help the team survive the loss of nine seniors. Three powerful players will return, John Holland (CGS’09, COM’11), Jake O’Brien (CGS’10), and Jeff Pelage (CGS’10), and three transfers are available: Patrick Hazel (COM’11), from Marquette, Matt Griffin (SMG’11), from Rider, and Darryl Partin (MET’11), from La Salle.
Chambers is confident, and passionate, about the program. “What we have to do is bring in kids who are competitors and good people. Regardless of wins and losses, the real foundation of this team has been attitude. Life is difficult at times. There are going to be bumps and bruises. The real question is, where are you going to be when times are hard?”
Chambers will be back at the end of the bench next season.