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Penn State Basketball Coach Resigns After Racist Comments

October 23, 2020

Pat Chambers, head coach of the men’s basketball team at Pennsylvania State University, resigned Wednesday after a former player, who is Black, reported Chambers made racially offensive comments toward him and the university concluded an internal review of his conduct, a Penn State press release said.

Rasir Bolton, the former player, who left the university in 2019, told the sports publication The Undefeated in July that Chambers said he wanted to “loosen the noose that’s around” Bolton’s neck and made other comments that referenced racist stereotypes. Penn State’s Affirmative Action and Athletics Integrity offices then investigated Chambers’s conduct and discovered “new allegations of inappropriate conduct,” which emerged after the article was published, the press release said.

The university does not “disclose the details of personnel investigations,” Sandy Barbour, vice president for intercollegiate athletics, said in the release. Barbour said she and university president Eric Barron agree Chambers’s resignation is “in the best interests of Penn State, our program and our student-athletes.”

“As difficult as this news may be, both President Barron and I believe this is the right outcome,” Barbour said. “The young men of our program are talented, passionate and resilient. They have been the authors of the rebirth of Penn State men's basketball. Although I'm sure it will take them a little time, I am certain they will find their footing and move confidently and successfully through the academic year, COVID-19 environment and the competitive season.”

Chambers led the men’s basketball team for nine seasons and nearly brought the team to the 2020 National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I men’s basketball tournament, which was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic in March, the press release said. Jim Ferry, who served as offensive coordinator under Chambers, will be interim head coach during the 2020-21 basketball season, according to the press release.

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