PHILADELPHIA - This one is about the two feisty middle-aged men from the northeast who jumped on a bus at 6:30 a.m.
Instead of trading barbs, they sipped coffee. They chatted about the past and what the future might hold. Before they knew it, they were in the state's biggest city.
Penn State football coach Bill O'Brien and men's basketball coach Patrick Chambers are less than four months into their relationship and they want the school's two most profitable programs to form an alliance.
The pair traveled together to the first two stops of the Penn State Coaches Caravan. Maybe it was by design or maybe it was a coincidence, but the caravan's first two stops were in southeastern Pennsylvania, a fertile recruiting ground for both programs. The caravan heads to Baltimore and Washington, today, giving the coaches more time to bond.
"I have known Pat for a few months," said O'Brien, who was hired in January. "I think we have a strong relationship. We come from similar backgrounds coming from the northeast. We tell it like it is. There's not a lot of B.S. in our relationship."
Chambers has a lot of Philadelphia in him. He attended Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square and graduated from Philadelphia University. He spent part of Monday describing their new surroundings to O'Brien. The message? Energy sells here.
O'Brien is from suburban Boston and previously worked for the ultra-sophisticated New England Patriots, but he's trying to cultivate a blue-collar image at Penn State. He begins work before sunrise and political candidates might have trouble matching the volume of meet-and-greets he executes.
"Philly is a great sports town," O'Brien said. "Pat was giving me his own family's history of Philadelphia and growing up here. He brought up a good point that Philly is a lot different than Boston. Boston is primarily a pro sports town. In Philadelphia you have all of the pro sports, college teams and the high school football and basketball. It's a neat place."
Chambers handles a difficult sell with similar exuberance. He went 12-20 in his first season with the Nittany Lions, which adds to his recruiting challenges in Philadelphia.
The Philadelphia presence on the basketball roster increases this season when Southern Mississippi transfer and D.J. Newbill becomes eligible. Newbill attended the city's Strawberry Mansion High School. Imhotep Charter's Brandon Austin is a key piece of Chambers' 2013 recruiting class.
"We have to win," Chambers said. "I think our success this year and years to come will be critical. I think the success of D.J. Newbill will be big. He's from North Philly. But we have to go wherever the best players are and where people want to be here, whether that's Philly, Pittsburgh, Texas, California - it doesn't matter. We have to be successful no matter what we do."
O'Brien is prepared to give Chambers an assist.
Chambers called a strong relationship with the football program "critical" to basketball success. Both coaches said Monday they are excited about working together.
"For me, it's a luxury having Penn State football because we can reap the benefits of what that program means nationally for us," Chambers said. "It can only help and it already has with the way I travel and the way I go out and recruit now. We are doing some amazing things, and I'm getting to see a ton of players and people are starting to listen. Maybe when I first got here maybe they weren't listening."
Chambers was hired last June. He sidestepped a question whether his program had struggled receiving similar recruiting support.
"I've been on the job for 11 months, so I can't tell you what has happened in the past," he said. "I can tell you there were some noes, but that's what you get in recruiting - there are more noes than yesses. It's definitely been a challenge. I think it's a challenge anywhere you go and take over a job and right now we were 12- 20, so it's a challenge to recruit. But you have to keep at it and get the right players."
O'Brien's recruiting has started fast. The Nittany Lions have received oral commitments from eight high school juniors, including two Philadelphia area products: Curtis Cothran of Council Rock North and defensive tackle Greg Webb of Timber Creek Regional (N.J.).
Whenever he wants to talk more about this area, O'Brien knows where to find one eager listener.
"I really enjoy his company," Chambers said. "We are very similar in a lot of ways other than the hair style. We are intense and passionate. We want to do what's best for Penn State and he's building a culture and environment to share those type of stories. We get along great. We can go out and have a burger together."
On days like Monday, an authentic cheese steak might be a more fitting option.
"I can show him all the hot spots for cheese steaks," Chambers said.
O'Brien comments on Smith
O'Brien revealed little about Devon Smith's status on Monday.
The senior wide receiver was charged this past weekend with possessing a small amount of marijuana. The charges stem from a March 14 incident at Nittany Apartments.
"Anything I do about Devon Smith will be between me and Devon Smith," O'Brien said before Monday's first event. "He's a good kid and I believe in him."
Smith caught 25 passes for 402 yards last season. He's the Nittany Lions' second leading returning receiver.