Fans of Penn State football were recently surprised when the disturbing case of child sex abuse was brought to light through media outlets across the country. Former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted on accounts of sex crimes against children, causing a downward spiral involving various members of the Penn State staff who are now under heat with allegations of failing to properly report the crimes. Among these men is the school’s long-time hero, successful football coach Joe “Joe Pa” Paterno.

Over the last decade, we’ve witnessed coaches from well-known colleges and universities who were also faced with trials or early resignation as a result of similar controversies. Here’s a list of the Top 5 Most Shocking Sex Scandals among College Coaches.

  • Andy Lyons, Getty Images
    Andy Lyons, Getty Images

    Rick Pitino

    University of Louisville – Men’s Basketball

    Basketball coaching legend Rick Pitino announced in 2009 that he was the target of an extortion attempt by Karen Cunagin Sypher, the wife of the Louisville equipment manager. After initially denying the incident, Pitino later testified to an affair with Sypher, but she had a different story to tell. Her version included accounts of sexual assault, pregnancy, and a very large pay-off. In the end, it was Sypher who was found guilty of lying and convicted on three counts of extortion.


    Tom Mutch

    Boston College – Women's Ice Hockey Team

    According to, BC’s Women’s Hockey coach Tom Mutch was hit with allegations of inappropriate conduct in 2007, leading the athletic department to begin an investigation of the matter. The findings stunned the college when an anonymous source reported sexually graphic text messages sent by the married coach to the 19-year-old leading scorer of the women’s ice hockey team. Despite no charges in the case, Mutch abruptly resigned and the school issued a statement that he went on to “pursue other career interests”.

  • Brian Bahr, Getty Images
    Brian Bahr, Getty Images

    Gary Barnett

    University of Colorado – Men's Football

    In 2004, things got shaky for coach Gary Barnett of the Colorado Buffaloes football team when the program was accused of enticing recruits by providing them with drugs, strippers, and sex with escorts. Matters got much worse when shortly after these allegations were made public, nine women including the team’s (female) kicker came forward accusing players of sexual harassment and even rape. Although charges were dropped, the scandal plagued the institution and ultimately resulted in the firing of Coach Barnett.

  • Jim McIsaac, Getty Images
    Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

    Dana “Pokey” Chatman

    Louisiana State University – Women’s Basketball

    Dana “Pokey” Chatman successfully led the Louisiana State Lady Tigers to three consecutive Final Four games before her run with coaching came to a startling halt in 2007. It was her assistant who came forward informing the university that an affair had occurred between Chatman and a player on the women’s basketball team. Although LSU performed no formal inquiry, Coach Chatman gracefully resigned and was recently named head coach of the Chicago Sky WNBA team.

  • Patrick Smith/Stringer, Getty Images
    Patrick Smith/Stringer, Getty Images

    Jerry Sandusky

    Pennsylvania State University, Men’s Football

    Despite the fact that the Penn State child sex abuse scandal is just beginning to unfold, it has already gained a tremendous amount of media attention. Following Sandusky’s recent indictment, his former colleagues have suffered career casualties while the entire Penn State community has been turned upside down as more details emerge throughout the investigation. At the heart of this incident lies a whirlwind of questions regarding ethics, morals and possible cover-ups, causing it to be at the top of the list of controversial college scandals.

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