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Rutgers fires men’s basketball coach Mike Rice

Apr 3, 2013, 10:12 AM EST

spt-120123-mikerice AP

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One day after footage of his behavior during practices was shown on the ESPN program Outside the Lines, Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice has been fired by the school as originally reported by multiple outlets.

In three seasons at the school Rice, formerly the head coach at Robert Morris, posted an overall record of 44-51 but managed to go just 16-38 in Big East play.

Despite the lack of on-court success it’s the video footage of abusive behavior in practices that led to Rice’s ouster.

Allegations of abusive behavior made by former Rutgers director of basketball development Eric Murdock, whose contract was not renewed by the school following the 2011-12 season. In the video shown by ESPN Rice is seen throwing basketballs at players and using profane language, including a homophobic slur.

MORE: Rice isn’t alone in this kind of behavior

After originally viewing the tapes athletic director Tim Pernetti suspended Rice for three games, fined him $75,000 and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.

Once the public saw the video and realized the severity of Rice’s actions it became clear to many that the original punishment did not fit.

“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” said Pernetti in a statement released by the school. “Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong.

“Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”

MORE: How an assistant coach’s departure sealed Rice’s fate

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released a statement on Tuesday that he was “deeply disturbed” by the footage,  and other state politicians called for Rice to be fired.

The question now is whether or not more changes are made within the athletic department given the initial punishment.

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Yet there’s no doubt that this is another black eye for a program that’s had its share of issues over the last decade.

Rice would be the fourth consecutive Rutgers men’s basketball coach to exit under a cloud of controversy. Kevin Bannon left in disgrace in 2001 after forcing his players to shoot naked free throws as part of a practice contest. Gary Waters’ fairly successful tenure ended shortly after he missed a 2006 game when a snowstorm trapped him at Kent State, his previous school, where he was being honored. Fred Hill was bought out in 2010 for insubordination after he made a scene at a Rutgers baseball game.

In the last year five players have transferred out of the program. At the end of last season Austin Carroll (American) and Gilvydas Biruta (Rhode Island) left, with Malick Kone, Vincent Garrett and Jerome Seagears announcing their intentions to leave at the end of the 2012-13 campaign.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

  1. rayburns - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    Cover Your A**, Rutgers style.

    • polegojim - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:26 PM

      How about… ‘Doing the Right Thing’… Rutgers style?

      The guy should have been fired!

    • michaelmcqueen2013 - Apr 4, 2013 at 9:39 AM

      This man behaved like a total lunatic. This is not coaching in any way, shape or form. A coach is suppose to be an example to his players. Not only to show them how to play the game, but also how to be respectable young men and represent the organization well. How do you acheive this by insulting and assaulting the players intrusted to your care? A real professional coach knows how to be firm without a horrible display of total disrespect for his team.

  2. majorhavoc83 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    This wouldn’t have happened without the pressure from Gov. Christie, other politicians and the public. Rutgers is a NJ STATE school. This guy should have been fired in December. Next…the Rutgers AD has to go for trying to sweep this under the rug!!

    Thanks to Murdock and ESPN for bringing this to light!

    • sarasotan - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:36 AM

      Exactly,majorhavoc. The administration at Rutgers has known about this at least since November, since he was suspended and fined then. What possible justification will the administration give for not firing him when this came to their attention (and did they really only find out about it then)? It will be interesting to hear!

  3. millmannj - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    One down, one to go. Pernetti needs to be the next one shown the door.

    • mansuetta - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:35 AM

      Exactly, hopefully he doesn’t escape but you know he probably will.

    • sabatimus - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      Two to go: the school president. Who ultimately oversaw the unlawful firing of Eric Murdock?

  4. kansacity88 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    @mansuetta

    Many have tried to escape NJ, and have failed miserably!

  5. vp19 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    After the misadventures with the previous coaches, Rutgers better make the right decision regarding a successor — and be prepared to shell out some big money for it (especially since it’s joining the Big Ten in 2014-15). An up-and-coming coach from a lower-tier conference simply won’t do. Would Rutgers have the courage to seriously pursue Ben Howland, who has experience with eastern recruiting from his days at Pittsburgh? No, he won’t come cheaply, but there’s little alternative on the banks of the Raritan.

    • LogicalConsideration - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:51 AM

      Ben Howland? Are you serious? I’m neither a UCLA nor a Rutgers fan, but it is hard to imagine a worse candidate for the next coach at Rutgers. Howland’s history at UCLA suggests he is very similar to Rice. Among the allegations made against him over the years (each by multiple sources):
      –Verbal and physical abuse (sound familiar), including kicking players during walk throughs
      –Failure to punish players who violated a directly ordered curfew during which they used drugs and came in at 4am
      –Failed to punish a star player who was consistently physically over aggressive in practice to the point he injured multiple players and which led to at least one transfer.

      Besides which, Rutgers has essentially ZERO basketball tradition (a single Final Four appearance nearly 40 years ago does NOT get you a seat at the table). The only way to build a tradition is to get a young up and comer, hope he is successful and hope you can pay to keep him if he is.

  6. whitdog23 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    vp19 — WHY do you think Howland would consider Rutgers? Trust me…the next coach will be an unknown name to you

  7. patthehockeyfan - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:59 AM

    “Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”

    A great first step for Pernetti to accomplish this “trust” would be to quit! Shame on him!

  8. waladen - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    This makes that 10 second clip of Knight “strangling” a player look like Barney the Dinosaur teaching pre-schoolers.

    • patthehockeyfan - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:12 AM

      RIce is the only human being able to make Knight look like Mother Teresa.

  9. brglassman - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Reblogged this on The Glassmanagerie.

  10. happster - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    A little too late to save face. This merely sends the message that this kind of behavior will not be tolerated…if the media gets wind of it. With his record, why hang onto him anyway? Yikes.

  11. iowahbr - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    the AD should be fired as well as the coach was only fired because of the video release and the whistle blower lawsuit and not because he was off his rocker.

  12. viktorshald - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Reblogged this on Viktorshald's Blog and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)

  13. rmfields - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    “I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Pernetti said in a statement.

    Are you kidding me? His “attempt” to rehabilitate Rice was a three game suspension? We all know the only reason the AD ended up taking any major action was because Rice’s coaching practices became public.

    The AD is just trying to cover his own a$$ now. If this had never gone public, Rice would still be coaching and abusing Rutgers’ players.

  14. mungman69 - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Rutgers University never considered men’s basketball very important anyway so why not hire a young coach who can build from the ground up. There is a lot of basketball talent in New Jersey.

  15. nwgunslinger - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    ESPN better stay away from any Marine Corp boot camps or they’ll be firing drill instructors by the dozen.

    • moshulu - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      So you’re a Marine?

    • it's all bs - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:58 PM

      what part about this not being the Marine Corps do u NOT understand???

  16. tobibear86 - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I sure as heck am glad I’m not married to that Godzilla. Wow imagine if you were his wife and you wrecked the car or if you were his child and got a F on a report card…..ouch, call rehab. I really wonder how many friends (I mean stick to your ribs friends) this guy has. Sorry to say I have seen some little league bball, t-ball, soccer and whatever coaches like him and the parents turn their heads because they don’t want to make sissys out of their kids. Moms and dads….do you really think your kid will be a better player or more than likely end up hating the sport. It is a SPORT! Don’t sacrifice your kids fun and enthusiasm over a disturbed coach who doesn’t know when to chill out. Is it that important to you to lose your kid? It’s your choice when to or not to use your voice.

    • patthehockeyfan - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      Even more importantly, an abused child is more likely to grow up to be an abuser (than a child not abused).

  17. Mike Oviatt - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Leagl actio n here he comes. Fined, suspended for 3 games and told to take sensitivity training. Now due to the outcry he’s fired. Double jeapordy? Because Rutgers mishandled this in the first place I will not be surprised to see a lawsuit.

  18. moshulu - Apr 3, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    “After originally viewing the tapes athletic director Tim Pernetti suspended Rice for three games, fined him $75,000 and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.

    Once the public saw the video and realized the severity of Rice’s actions it became clear to many that the original punishment did not fit.”

    Kind of reminds you of what went on at Penn State. Long as they can keep it in house, it’s ok!!!!

    Here’s an article where 11 former Penn State players want a “trustee” fired for firing Paterno…..

    LOL…. Sports has got to go on, regardless of ANY circumstances!!

    http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2013/04/02/news/doc515b3cfa3bd40741981714.txt

  19. toosano - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Bona fide Assh0le.

  20. fnc111 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    Would love to see Rice fcked in the azz by Bubba as his players watch an laugh

  21. nc1965 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Well, there goes Rutgers’ chances of ever winning a championship.

  22. nc1965 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Do you know whose crying about this?

    Out of touch sheltered white people. So much so that the sight of a black person scares some of them -s h i t l e s s-.

    Well, they should have participated in organized sport in school. Now they will raise weak kneed wimpy kids.

    Coaches like the prepares kids for life. My football coach in high school did some of the same things. We were undefeated.

    • awldat - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      What position did you play Noreen?

    • toosano - Apr 5, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      Whoa, an idiot speaks.

  23. mapalmerma - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    Joe Paterno was fired for not doing anything about abuse, so it’s fair. Also, kudos to the person(s) who set up the video camera with sound, to get the evidence on this kook, so that he couldn’t deny it.

  24. jsm11 - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Don’t take a Rutgers sports scholarship until a brand new management team is replaced.

  25. bigdell - Apr 3, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    Rutgers needs to hire someone who can project a serene, calm image. Someone who can control his emotions.

    The answer? Bobby Knight, of course. He looks like a choirboy when compared to Rice.

  26. fnc111 - Apr 3, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    Nc65 black man ,,,,, mike Brey at ND doesn’t resort to this nor does Boeheim. They are much better than this Rice dude just look at the records. That video was a disgrace. Did it work ? Rutgers was terrible. A liberal like yourself should be on par with evolution by now. The tactics of 1965 don’t work today. Grow up you bigot.

  27. tippntoni - Apr 3, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    I don’t know how the players managed not to gang up on him and dribble a few balls on his head. Wow. Congrats to those young men for controlling their emotions and behavior. Even though I am a level-headed woman, the videos would have been much different if he done those things to me.

  28. dabbindan - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    it wasn’t the video that lead to the firing of hall. it was the PUBLIC RELEASE of the video that lead to the firing. that exposes the AD’s serious lack of good judgement and his firing should follow.

    • dabbindan - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:10 PM

      oops, rice.

  29. awldat - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Rice would be the fourth consecutive Rutgers men’s basketball coach to exit under a cloud of controversy. Kevin Bannon left in disgrace in 2001 after forcing his players to shoot naked free throws as part of a practice contest. Gary Waters’ fairly successful tenure ended shortly after he missed a 2006 game when a snowstorm trapped him at Kent State, his previous school, where he was being honored. Fred Hill was bought out in 2010 for insubordination after he made a scene at a Rutgers baseball game.

    In the last year five players have transferred out of the program. At the end of last season Austin Carroll (American) and Gilvydas Biruta (Rhode Island) left, with Malick Kone, Vincent Garrett and Jerome Seagears announcing their intentions to leave at the end of the 2012-13 campaign.

    —————————

    This kinda says it all, huh? Wow.

  30. kapcarl - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Time to clean house at Rutgers.In my opinion, anyone who was aware of this should be gone. Surprised that lawsuits haven’t been filed over this, No one deserves this type treatment.

  31. leothelyon - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Despite the lack of on-court success it’s the video footage of abusive behavior in practices that led to Rice’s ouster.

    Was it an I-phone? Only then was the administration forced to rectify the problem. Most likely the same mindset that ignores allegations that children are being raped in the showers by the school’s faculty.

    Students need an outside body to report to that acts independent of the schools. More cameras need to be set up.

    This is basically a meltdown of moral standards. The more asshojes and mentally sick unstable people infiltrate the system, the next thing you know..society will be allowing children to be molested and raped of their innocent minds….no wait….that’s already happening to 2 million children trapped in households that practice homosexuality.

    It’s already happening, the devil at work!

    • dabbindan - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      i agreed with your first two paragraphs. then you started to sound like a nut. then i just realized you are completely disassociated with reality. what a roller coaster ride!

      now i think you’re just a troll.

  32. jackrabbit56 - Apr 3, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    To quote Lucky Wilbury (aka Bob Dylan) … “In Jersey anything’s legal as long as you don’t get caught”

  33. caldreaming - Apr 3, 2013 at 4:13 PM

    Athletic Director Pernettti should be fired also. If he thinks the behavior of Rice was not deserving of termination, then he is too stupid to hold the AD position. Rice is an idiot and a bully. Pernetti is incompetent.

    • daviddmsvcp - Apr 8, 2013 at 1:31 PM

      Yes, the AD should be fired, and so should the president of Rutgers. The governor should also be fired. Heck, let’s just shut down the whole school.. No wait, let’s throw NJ out of the USA.
      No, wait,

  34. cssidenver - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    Tell me again how long it took for Rutgers to fire this guy AFTER they’d seen the video! Is winning that dear to you Rutgers????

  35. jlee999 - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:21 PM

    Even though not addressed in this article, it is nonetheless true that before conducting each team practice session, Mike Rice met clandestinely with Don Imus in the morning for advice on sensitivity.

  36. eugenesaxe - Apr 3, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Correction: He wasn’t fired for “violence/using gay slurs”, he was fired because someone outside the program found out about it and bitched.

  37. bgm9876 - Apr 3, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the tape by a former employee in November and, after an independent investigator was hired to review it, Rice was suspended for three games, fined $75,000 and ordered to attend anger management classes. University president Robert Barchi signed off on the penalty.

    But on Wednesday, Rutgers referred to new information and ”a review of previously discovered issues” as the reasons for Rice’s termination.

    ”Yesterday, I personally reviewed the video evidence, which shows a chronic and pervasive pattern of disturbing behavior,” Barchi said in a statement. ”I have now reached the conclusion that Coach Rice cannot continue to serve effectively in a position that demands the highest levels of leadership, responsibility and public accountability. He cannot continue to coach at Rutgers University.”

    The video shows numerous clips of Rice at practice firing basketballs at players, hitting them in the back, legs, feet and shoulders. It also shows him grabbing players by their jerseys and yanking them around the court. Rice can also be heard yelling obscenities and using gay slurs.

    ”As I stated three months ago after I watched the video how deeply regrettable those actions (were). I also stated I was going to try to work on changing. I think I’ve accomplished a lot of that,” Rice said. ”I can’t say anything right now except I’m sorry and there will never be a time where I’m going to use any of that as an excuse or there will be any excuse.

    ”I’ve let so many people down: my players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans. My family, who’s sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact their father was an embarrassment to them. It’s troubling, but at some time maybe I’ll try to explain it. But right now there’s no explanation for what’s on those films. There is no excuse for it. I was wrong. I want to tell everybody who’s believed in me that I’m deeply sorry for the pain and hardship that I’ve caused. `’

    Gov. Chris Christie, who said he was appalled when he saw the video on Tuesday, supported the firing at the state’s flagship public university.

    ”This was a regrettable episode for the university, but I completely support the decision to remove Coach Rice,” he said in a statement. ”It was the right and necessary action to take in light of the conduct displayed on the videotape.

    ‘APPALLING’ BEHAVIOR
    Sports stars tweet disgust over actions of Rutgers coach. See the video at FOX Sports Detroit.

    ”Parents entrust their sons to the Rutgers athletic department and the men’s basketball program at an incredibly formative period of their lives. The way these young men were treated by the head coach was completely unacceptable and violates the trust those parents put in Rutgers University. All of the student-athletes entrusted to our care deserve much better.”

    Rice, who helped Robert Morris to two NCAA tournament appearances, was one of the hot coaching candidates in the spring of 2010. But he wasn’t able to push Rutgers into the upper echelon of the Big East Conference, and went 44-51. Rice was 16-38 in the Big East, after going 73-31 in three seasons at Robert Morris. The Scarlet Knights went 15-16 this season and 5-13 in the league.

    Pernetti took responsibility for trying to rehabilitate Rice instead of firing him.

    ”Dismissal and corrective action were debated in December and I thought it was in the best interest of everyone to rehabilitate, but I was wrong. Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community,” he said.

    OUTTA HERE
    These college hoops coaches are looking for new employment.

    Rice was Pernetti’s first major hire after getting the AD’s job.

    Pernetti said his decision to only suspend Rice was made in part because the coach was remorseful. Rice had a reputation as being ”a fiery guy with an edge” before coming to Rutgers and Pernetti said the two talked about it for five hours before he was hired.

    The video was made by Eric Murdock, the former NBA player who was hired by Rice to be director of player development.

    The two had a falling out over Murdock’s appearances at a camp, and Pernetti said Murdock’s contract was not renewed. Murdock, who said he was fired, then compiled the video, splicing together the practice lowlights of Rice’s first three years as coach.

    Pernetti said about 60 percent of the incidents happened in Rice’s first season. He also was upset with Rice using a certain gay slur at a university where student Tyler Clementi committed suicide after a roommate used a webcam to see him kissing a man.

    ”I would tell you that that word was at the core of the suspension,” Pernetti said. ”It absolutely concerns me. It’s not acceptable.”

  38. dolphins4 - Apr 3, 2013 at 10:15 PM

    They should hire Penn States coach,he don’t beat anybody.

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