The Penn State University men’s basketball team lost its head coach about a month before the delayed season is scheduled to start.
The Big Ten university announced Wednesday that Pat Chambers had resigned after an internal investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct. Penn State vice president for intercollegiate athletics Sandy Barbour named assistant coach Jim Ferry the interim head coach.
"I am announcing today that I have accepted the resignation of men's basketball head coach Pat Chambers following an internal investigation of allegations of inappropriate conduct by Coach Chambers which surfaced shortly after ESPN published a July 6 story on the website The Undefeated," Barbour said in the press release, referencing this story in which allegations surfaced. "The review was conducted jointly by Penn State's Affirmative Action and Athletics Integrity offices. We do not disclose the details of personnel investigations, but I can tell you, as difficult as this news may be, both President Barron and I believe this is the right outcome.”
According to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman, the 49-year-old Chambers released a statement, saying, “I am so proud of all our program has accomplished these past nine years, and I will be forever grateful to the Penn State community for its ongoing support.
“This has been an incredibly difficult year for me and my family, and we are in need of a break to re-set and chart our path forward. So, I’m taking a step back to prepare myself for the next 20 years.”
The investigation began when former Penn State player Rasir Bolton alleged Chambers made racially insensitive comments to him in January 2019. Bolton, who played at Iowa State last season, claims Chambers admitted to the comments but never apologized. Bolton said the university gave him a psychologist’s phone number and taught him “ways to deal with Coach Chambers’ personality type.”
Barbour released a statement in July, saying, “Patrick Chambers deeply regrets the words he chose and understands the pain he caused Rasir Bolton and his family. Patrick has stated that he is committed to educating himself and he is actively working to learn and grow, which will be imperative to his future success at Penn State.
“Our black community of students, faculty and staff must have the opportunity to feel safe, respected and welcome at Penn State, and clearly our past actions and words have not always contributed positively to that goal.”
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The Nittany Lions went 148-150 in nine years under Chambers, including a 21-10 record last year before the season was canceled due to COVID-19.
"Coach Chambers has made many contributions to the program, for which we are grateful,” Barbour said. “The team has been on a positive trajectory and responded well to Coach Chambers' efforts on and off the court. But as difficult as this news may be, we think it's in the best interests of Penn State, our program and our student-athletes.
"Our main focus at this moment is squarely on our student-athletes, which as you have heard me say many times is our why. This was difficult and unexpected news for them, and we are committed to continuing to provide them the necessary resources as they focus on their academics, health and safety, and preparation for the season to come.”
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