A year ago, the head coach of the Penn State basketball team made a comment about a noose around a player’s neck. Now, after an investigation and new allegations of inappropriate conduct, the head coach has resigned.
Pat Chambers, who has been the head coach for the Penn State men’s basketball team since 2011, resigned on Wednesday. According to the university, his resignation followed an internal investigation of new allegations of his “inappropriate conduct” — allegations that came after Rasir Bolton revealed comments Chambers made to him regarding a noose around his neck.
“A ‘noose’ around my neck is why I left Penn State,” Bolton wrote in a tweet in July. “Head Coach Patrick Chambers, the day after his one-game suspension in January 2019, in talking to me referenced a ‘noose’ around my neck.”
Chambers had been suspended for the January 6, 2019, game after shoving a freshman player during a timeout several days earlier.
Bolton discussed the situation in a report published by ESPN’s The Undefeated, detailing the ways in which Bolton said he experienced racism while at Penn State. Bolton left Penn State after the 2018-19 season for Iowa State, with little explanation at the time.
Penn State did not reveal any details regarding the new allegations made against Chambers, but did say the allegations “surfaced shortly after” the publication of The Undefeated’s article.
“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 this is the right outcome,” said Sandy Balfour, the university’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics.
Chambers issued a statement this week that said, in part, “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.”
The coach apologized for his comments this summer, and Penn State released a detailed plan of action to help the school’s athletic program “move to a more inclusive, just and respectful environment.”
Assistant coach Jim Ferry will serve as the interim head coach for the 2020-21 season, the school said.
Chambers’ resignation comes as more college athletes are speaking up against incidents of racism in their collegiate programs.
This month, eight Black former football players at the University of Iowa demanded $20 million in compensation and for the firing of multiple coaching officials over racial discrimination.
Earlier in the summer, Kerry Martin Jr., a football player at West Virginia University, detailed the mistreatment he and others received from defensive coordinator Vic Koenning, who was placed on administrative leave before mutually parting ways with the school. Koenning apologized in a statement to Martin, writing that he never intended to be offensive or insensitive.
At Colorado State University, all football-related activities were paused indefinitely after allegations of racism and verbal abuse from within the Rams’ athletic administration and in the football program specifically came to light in August.