Chambers resigns as PSU coach
UNIVERSITY PARK–Penn State men’s basketball coach Pat Chambers resigned on Wednesday following an internal investigation by the school into allegations of inappropriate conduct.
Chambers, who led the Nittany Lions program for the past nine seasons, had a record of 148-150 at Penn State, including a 26-13 record and an NIT Championship in 2018.
The program is coming off of one of it’s best seasons in years, as the Nittany Lions went 21-10 and would have most likely earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2011 before the postseason was canceled due of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA berth would have been Chambers’ first at Penn State.
“Today, I’m 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.
“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 reset and chart our path forward. I’m taking a step back to prepare myself for the next 20 years. And while I do, I’ll celebrate all we accomplished.”
The investigation into Chambers came after an article by ESPN’s The Undefeated that quoted former Penn State and current Iowa State basketball player Rasir Bolton, who alleged mistreatment from Chambers, stating that in January of 2019, Chambers told him that he wanted to“loosen the noose” around his neck, in reference to taking pressure off of him.
Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said during an unscheduled press conference that she won’t disclose details into the school’s investigation, but noted that NCAA matters were not a part of the investigation. Barbour said she received the final report within the last two weeks.
“I’m announcing that I have accepted the resignation of men’s basketball coach Pat Chambers following an internal investigation of allegations of inappropriate conduct that surfaced shortly after ESPN published a July 6th story on the website The Undefeated,” Barbour said. “The review was conducted jointly by Penn State’s Affirmative Action and Athletics Integrity offices. As difficult as this news may be, President (Eric) Barron and I believe this is the right outcome.”
Barbour also noted that the allegation was previously unknown to Penn State and was “independent and unrelated to The Undefeated article.”
In the past three seasons, Penn State recorded an overall record of 61-41 as the Nittany Lions program has continued to trend in the right direction.
“Coach Chambers has made many contributions to the program and to this university for which we are grateful,” Barbour said. “The team has been on a positive trajectory and has responded well to Coach Chambers’ efforts on and off the court. As difficult as this news may be, we think that it is in the best interest of Penn State, our program and our student athletes.”
Assistant coach Jim Ferry was appointed as the interim coach, according to Barbour. Ferry has 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 19 as a head coach. Ferry most recently served as the head coach at Duquesne from 2012-17.
“We have appointed assistant coach Jim Ferry as the interim coach and he will serve in that role until a replacement can be named,” Barbour said. “I am confident that he and our staff will provide strong, focused and determined leadership for our young men.”
The Nittany Lions will conduct a national search for their next coach.
“We certainly will do a national search, as we do for all coaches at Penn State, but I would like to see Coach Ferry have the kind of success and have our program have the kind of success this year that would give Coach Ferry a shot,” Barbour said.
The team was informed at 4:30 p.m. of Chambers’ departure. Chambers informed the team of his resignation, according to Barbour.
“As you can imagine, it was difficult news for them to hear,” Barbour said. “Coach Chambers has many current and former players who have been glowing in their praises of him and our current players –many of them –have good relationships with him and he is the one who has given them this opportunity. They are in a little bit of shock and they are very disappointed.”
The first contest date for the 2020-21 season for Division I men’s and women’s basketball is Nov. 25, after being pushed back from a Nov. 10 start date.