Patrick Chambers should be at the end of his rope.
Somehow he has been given nine years at Penn a State to prove that fact that he is mediocre. No other division I coach has received that amount of tenure at one school without reaching the NCAA Tournament. Chambers would have gotten his team there last season if not for the COVID-19 shutdown. Nonetheless, Chambers has drastically underwhelmed during his time at Penn State.
new work for @TheUndefeated on the story of Rasir Bolton and Pat Chambers at Penn State. an exploration of the racial power imbalance of the NCAA, where white coaches “love” their black players, but don’t always understand who they are.https://t.co/zBCbmvqS6i
— Jesse Washington (@jessewashington) July 6, 2020
The comment made to Rasir Bolton, his then freshman point guard, about loosening the noose comes out at a really bad time for Chambers. Due to recent events, our country—particularly the African American communities—are rightfully very sensitive to such remarks.
I personally don’t think you can paint Chambers as racist based on this one comment. I certainly understand why Bolton, or any black person, would construe the message the way he did. Unfortunately we have a long, ugly history that dredges up horrible images for black people when it comes to nooses.
What Chambers can be labeled is unaware. I am continually amazed at the lack of awareness some coaches have. Most are dealing with black players. Many deal with predominantly black players. We teach kids at a very young age to think before speaking. Yet, that basic tenant seems to elude some coaches.
I doubt Chambers meant anything racist, but then again I don’t know the man. It was, however, completely tone deaf. How did he think a black player would take that comment coming from a white coach? There are twenty other ways he could have worded his message that would not have been offensive to Bolton.
To make matters worse, as reported by David Jones at Penn.live, Chambers apparently tried to cover the matter up. He allegedly called team captain Josh Reaves in to his office to explain himself. During that conversation he supposedly told Reaves what he meant to say was “I wanted to be in the field with him.” Um, Patrick, that isn’t any better. Again, maybe check out a history book or two.
Here is the thing about Chambers. He has a volatile personality with a perpetually short fuse. He admitted to doing better with that last year. Of course, it took getting suspended for a game due to pushing a player in the huddle for him to make changes. Guys like that don’t completely change. It is who they are, and it is those personality types that say things off the cuff without thinking. Most likely that is what Chambers did.
I could picture Bob Knight saying something like that, not because he is racist but because he has a volatile personality. I could picture Iowa coach Fran McCaffery saying something like that for the very same reason.
Bob Knight is one of the best and winningest coaches in college basketball history, and eventually his volatility got him fired. McCaffery seems to always be on the edge of a hot seat. As for Chambers, he doesn’t win nearly enough to act like a knucklehead.
Lucky for him the AD isn’t competent at her job.
Sandy Barbour was an abject failure at the University of California. In doing research you will find she was partially to blame for the incredible financial strain the school is under for athletic facility upgrades. The football program went from the highs of the Aaron Rodgers years back to the bottom tier of the PAC-12. Her football and basketball programs had the worst graduation rates in the conference. While at Cal, Barbour failed miserably at meeting the required Title IX mandates.
Somehow, she parlayed that into the Penn State AD job.
While at Happy Valley, she has continued to have Title IX issues called into question, particularly with gymnastics. She has clumsily handled the abuse issue with gymnastics, a few missteps by football coach James Franklin, and issues with Patrick Chambers.
Barbour was clearly complicit in covering up and/or ignoring the Chambers’ comments made to Rasir Bolton. Her first statement came today, after the Bolton family broke the story in an interview done with Jesse Washington of The Undefeated. As you would expect, it was the canned, generic “we will do better, we will listen, we will be part of the solution” type of statement.
Maybe it is time for Penn State to review whether Barbour is right for the job. Hiring a woman or hiring a minority is a great sign of progress and should never be taken lightly. If they are the best, most qualified candidate for the job. In this case, I’m not sure Barbour fits the bill.
Whether it is Barbour or her replacement, Patrick Chambers should be relieved of his duties as basketball coach at Penn State.
Not because I think he is racist, or that his comment to Rasir Bolton was meant that way. Not because he pushed Myles Dread in a team huddle because he lacks self control. Not because of the numerous tirades because of his volatile personality.
Chambers should be terminated because he isn’t a very good coach. Go back and watch the Illinois game from last year where the coaches were mic’d up. Tell me you see any semblance of coaching on the sideline, in the team huddles, or in the locker room. I saw very little, including coming from his assistant coaches.
Patric Chambers is extraordinarily mediocre with far too many missteps and far too many losing seasons. And he’s had far too long to prove that at Penn State.
Just my two cents…