Penn State head men’s basketball coach Pat Chambers resigned Wednesday following an investigation into inappropriate conduct that stemmed from a former player saying Chambers made a reference to a noose around the player’s neck.
The school announced it accepted his resignation following an “internal investigation of new allegations of inappropriate conduct by Chambers.”
In July, Iowa State guard Rasir Bolton — who transferred from Penn State in the summer of 2019 — said he made the decision to leave the Nittany Lions because Chambers made a reference to a noose around Bolton’s neck.
Bolton told The Undefeated in July that he recalls Chambers saying, “I want to be a stress reliever for you. 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.”
“The new allegations surfaced shortly after The Undefeated’s article and a review was conducted jointly by Penn State’s Affirmative Action and Athletics Integrity offices,” Penn State said in its statement.
Chambers said in a statement provided to ESPN that he made the decision to take “a break to re-set and chart our path forward.”
Chambers had been the head coach at Penn State since 2011, leading the Nittany Lions to a 26-win season in 2018 and was poised for an NCAA tournament appearance in 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the NCAA tournament. It would have been the school’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2011 and fifth since 1965.
“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,” Chambers said in his statement. “Anyone who has ever coached — especially at this level — knows the exceptional amount of energy and focus it takes to deliver each and every day. 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.”
In a Twitter post after The Undefeated story was published, Bolton said Chambers never apologized for his word choice.
“He said he was from the north and wasn’t aware,” Bolton said in the post.
“A noose; symbolic of lynching, defined as one of the most powerful symbols directed at Africa Americans invoking the history of lynching, slavery and racial terrorism,” Bolton said. “Due to other interactions with Coach, I knew this was no slip of the tongue.”
Assistant coach Jim Ferry will serve as Penn State’s interim head coach for the 2020-21 season.