Penn State men's basketball coach Pat Chambers resigned Wednesday, the result of an internal investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct toward players.
Chambers resigned a week into practice and just over a month before the NCAA men's basketball season is scheduled to begin Nov. 25. Assistant coach Jim Ferry was promoted to interim coach for the 2020-21 season, the athletic department said in a statement.
Penn State Athletic Director Sandy Barbour did not discuss details of the investigation, citing university policy, but said NCAA matters, such as recruiting violations, were not involved.
Barbour confirmed that the athletic department began investigating allegations of inappropriate conduct by Chambers following a July story in The Undefeated by Jesse Washington. In the story, former Penn State player Rasir Bolton said that Chambers used the phrase "I want to loosen the noose that's around your neck" during a practice in January 2019.
Subsequently, Barbour said, Penn State's internal investigation uncovered an allegation unrelated to The Undefeated story. Penn State's Affirmative Action and Athletics Integrity offices are involved in the investigation.
Chambers, who had entered his 10th season as head coach, told the team himself during an afternoon meeting. Barbour said that players "were in a little bit of shock and very disappointed."
"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. But as difficult as this news may be, we think it's in the best interests of Penn State, our program and our student-athletes."
Chambers apologized for the comment, saying in a statement the reference he made was "hurtful, insensitive and unacceptable."
"It's imperative that we all learn from the mistakes of the past - our own and those of others - to move to a more inclusive, just and respectful environment," Barbour said in July.
Chambers spent nine seasons at Penn State, compiling a 148-150 record. His team went 21-10 last season and was poised to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2011 before the postseason was canceled.
In a statement Wednesday, Chambers said he is "taking a step back to prepare myself for the next 20 years."
"I am so proud of all our program has accomplished these past nine years, and I'll always be grateful to the Penn State community for its ongoing support," Chambers' statement 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..."
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