STATE COLLEGE – Pat Chambers, on Wednesday, resigned from his position as Penn State’s men’s basketball coach.
Penn State vice president for intercollegiate athletics Sandy Barbour said the school learned of a new allegation regarding Chambers that was “previously unknown to Penn State and was independent, unrelated to The Undefeated article.”
In July, Chambers was named in a report from The Undefeated where former Penn State player Rasir Bolton shared he decided to leave the program after Chambers made racially insensitive comments to him in 2019.
“Certainly, this has been a difficult day by announcing that I have accepted the resignation of men’s basketball head coach Pat Chambers following an internal investigation of allegations of inappropriate conduct which surfaced shortly after ESPN published a July 6 story on the website The Undefeated,” Barbour said.
Chambers coached Penn State to a 21-10 record in 2019, his ninth year with the program. The Nittany Lions were positioned to play in their first NCAA Tournament since the 2011 season this spring before the coronavirus pandemic ended NCAA sporting events.
"Today, I am announcing my departure from Penn State," Chambers said in a statement. "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."
Penn State assistant coach Jim Ferry will serve as interim head coach for the 2020-21 season.
“We have appointed assistant coach Jim Ferry as the interim men’s basketball coach, and he will serve in that role until a permanent replacement can be named,” Barbour said. “Coach Ferry has spent nearly 20 years as a collegiate head coach at four different institutions, and I am confident that he and our talented staff will provide strong and focused and determined leadership and guidance for our young men.”
Bolton this summer shared with The Undefeated and on Twitter the reason for his transfer to Iowa State in 2019.
“A noose around my neck is why I left Penn State,” Bolton tweeted. “Head Coach Patrick Chambers, the day after his one-game suspension in January 2019, in talking to me referenced a “noose” around my neck. A noose; symbolic of lynching, defined as one of the most powerful symbols directed at African Americans invoking the history of lynching, slavery and racial terrorism. Due to other interactions with Coach, I knew this was no slip of the tongue.”
According to Bolton’s conversation with The Undefeated, Chambers' words followed Penn State’s loss to Wisconsin in early 2019.
“I want to be a stress reliever for you,” Bolton recalled Chambers saying. “You can talk to me about anything. I need to get some of this pressure off you. I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck.”
Chambers responded to Bolton’s comments with a statement following The Undefeated’s report.
“I’ve realized the pain my words and ignorance caused Rasir Bolton and his family and I apologize to Rasir and the Bolton family for what I said,” Chambers said in a July statement. “I failed to comprehend the experiences of others, and the reference I made was hurtful, insensitive and unacceptable. I cannot apologize enough for what I said, and I will carry that forever.”
Barbour said the review into Chambers was conducted 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 (Penn State) president (Eric) Barron and I believe that this is the right outcome,” Barbour said. “Coach Chambers has made many contributions to the program and to this university, for which we are grateful. … But as difficult as this news may be, we think it’s in the best interest of Penn State, our program and our student-athletes.”
Chambers compiled a 148-150 overall record during his tenure with the Nittany Lions.
Penn State hired Chambers — who is from Newton Square — ahead of the 2011-12 season. He began his head coaching career at Boston University, where he compiled a 42-28 overall record in two seasons.