Pat Chambers Steps Down as PSU Head Coach Amid Investigation into Past Conduct

Jenna CiccotelliContributor IIIOctober 21, 2020

Penn State head coach Pat Chambers reacts as his team played against Indiana in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Bloomington, Ind., Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020. Indiana defeated Penn State 68-60. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Penn State basketball coach Pat Chambers stepped down after nine seasons with the Nittany Lions, the school announced Wednesday. 

Chambers joined Penn State in the 2011-12 season and amassed a 148-150 record in Happy Valley. 

Jeff Goodman @GoodmanHoops

Chambers was investigated for comments he made to former player Rasir Bolton. Bolton said he decided to leave Penn State after Chambers referenced "a noose around my neck" in a meeting between them. https://t.co/mFmgRTMKuC

Assistant coach Jim Ferry will lead the team on an interim basis.

While Chambers' run as the head coach at Penn State—which followed two seasons at Boston University—was largely unremarkable, with the team never finishing higher than sixth in the Big Ten Conference and making postseason tournaments just twice (the CBI quarterfinals in 2013-14 and an NIT win in 2017-18), his' legacy is marred by multiple inappropriate interactions with players. 

Penn State's integrity officer, Robert Boland, has been conducting an internal investigation of Chambers and interviewed former players and colleagues about the coach's treatment of them, according to PennLive's David Jones. The investigation was cited in the school's announcement of Chambers' resignation.

In January 2019, Chambers was suspended one game after he pushed then-freshman Myles Dread during a timeout in a loss to Michigan. Following the suspension, Chambers had a discussion with then-freshman Rasir Bolton about the pressure his player was under, telling him he wanted to "loosen the noose" around his neck. Bolton later left Penn State for Iowa State and posted a statement about the comment to Twitter in July, saying it was why he departed the program. 

🥳 @rasir_9

Why I chose to leave Penn State. https://t.co/uszEPPJZPM

Former Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Josh Reaves, who appeared in four games for the Dallas Mavericks this season, told PennLive's David Jones in July that Chambers' comment was "dehumanizing."

"It's not just an expression because you're still talking about a young African-American man, coached by a white man," Reaves said. "History isn't too kind to stuff like that. Especially being African-American and hearing something like that is...it just makes you feel like you're not worth anything."

Other players, including Lamar Stevens and Jamari Wheeler, spoke out in support of Chambers in July, per Jones.