Penn State basketball coach Pat Chambers resigned Wednesday following a university investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct, the school said.
Chambers, 49, was entering his 10th season at Penn State. The Nittany Lions went 21-10 during the 2019-20 season and were on the verge of receiving the program’s third NCAA tournament bid since 1997 when the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The investigation into Chambers included “new allegations of inappropriate conduct by Chambers,” Penn State said in a statement. Those allegations go beyond those outlined in a July article published in The Undefeated, which described a series of inappropriate remarks Chambers made to former Penn State guard Rasir Bolton.
“As difficult as this news may be, both President (Eric) Barron and I believe that this is the right outcome,” athletics director Sandy Barbour said on a Zoom call with reporters. “We’re not going to get into the details of this but NCAA matters were not part of this.”
According to The Undefeated, Chambers told Bolton, who is Black, “I want to loosen the noose that’s around your neck,” in reference to relieving the pressure Bolton felt as a freshman starter.
The conversation occurred in January 2019, four days after Chambers was caught on television shoving a player in the chest during a loss to Michigan and was given a one-game suspension.
“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.”
Bolton has since transferred to Iowa State, where he averaged 14.7 points a game during the 2019-20 season.
“I’m so proud of all our program has accomplished this past nine years, and I will be forever grateful to the Penn State community for its ongoing support,” Chambers said in a statement posted on Twitter.
“Anyone who has ever coached — especially at this level — knows the exception 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.”
Assistant coach Jim Ferry, the head coach at Duquesne from 2012-17, will serve as Penn State’s interim coach for the 2020-21 season, Barbour said.
Overall, Chambers went 148-150 with the Nittany Lions and made two postseason berths, including an NIT championship in 2018.