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Administrators, former assistant voice support for Rutgers AD Julie Hermann

May 26, 2013, 9:05 PM EDT

Rutgers University Introduces New Athletic Director Julie Hermann Getty Images

On Saturday evening the Newark Star-Ledger filed a report regarding allegations of verbal abuse by new Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann during her tenure at the volleyball coach at the University of Tennessee.

The allegations are the latest development in a saga that began with the revelation of former head basketball coach Mike Rice verbally and physically abusing players in practices.

And they certainly don’t help an administration that vowed to conduct thorough background checks when looking for a new coach and athletic director.

On Sunday evening some of Hermann’s former colleagues and fellow administrators voiced their support for the embattled athletic director, with a former assistant of Hermann’s denying the alleged verbal abuse.

“Just to know what we went through with these kids, I can’t fathom why they would come up with these claims,” former Tennessee assistant volleyball coach Kimberly Tibbetts told Keith Sargeant of Gannett New Jersey.

“We were adults and they were kids so I don’t feel comfortable talking about what they went through. It was just a tough time for all of us. We were there for them. She was there for them. She held their hands when they struggled. She loved them, and for her and I both to sit there and look at so many of these names it really hurts.”

While there were words of support for Hermann there was also the entrance of politicians into the fray. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that he’ll be in touch with Rutgers administrators to discuss the situation, and other state politicians want both Hermann and school president Dr. Robert L. Barchi to step down.

It remains to be seen what will come of the latest development in Rutgers Athletics. But with the program just over a year away from entering the Big Ten, the sooner this is all resolved the better.

The school has taken a beating from a perception standpoint in recent months, and a good portion of it has been self-inflicted.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

  1. mcsuave - May 27, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    This happened over 16 yrs ago. Where was the furor then? She has recently worked for Louisville with a great track record. Murderers do less time. People and coaches change with the times, which she has. No one was more abusive back then than Bobby Knight and he had a long career and many opportunities. Let it go and move on.

    • pandebailey - May 27, 2013 at 4:09 PM

      Not surprising her former bosses and assistants are backing her – what are they going to say “Yeah, she was a pyshco coach alright – I stood by and said nothing while she abused the whole team….nasty. I never said a thing until today.”

      Who’s going to admit that? Either you had to the courage to speak up 16 years ago, like her entire team did, or you’re going to deny everything to avoid looking as bad as Julie Hermann. Its not surprising they are covering things up – its just such a bad cover-up.

      And the very worst thing I heard in all of this? That most of her former players were still worried about going public 16 years later because they really felt Hermann might come after them and get even. How scary is this woman?

  2. ezwriter69 - May 27, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    The point is, she is a look-you-in-the-eyeball, stone-faced LIAR. To claim she has no memory of it, when EVERY member of her team signed the letter, and she QUIT because she wouldn’t coach them any more, makes that claim laughably false.
    You don’t hire stone cold bald-face LIARS to lead your organization, whatever that organization is.
    Rutgers is the ultimate ship of fools… just a fiasco, a total farce.

  3. pandebailey - May 27, 2013 at 1:01 PM

    Total non-denial denial – do these women all think we’re morons? There was no “She never called anyone a whore!” or “That never happened, or “I never saw Julie abuse anyone.”

    Instead, its “the kids went through a lot and she held their hands and I can’t imagine why they made these claims.”

    Please. Tennessee needs to start an entry level class in “Effective lying 101”.

  4. joebone - May 27, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Hey, let’s all pretend like we care about Rutgers, ok?

  5. barnesaintnoble - May 27, 2013 at 3:40 PM

    Haha please, you don’t hire stone faced liars? We all did. Bush-WMDs in Iraq and Obama closing Guantanamo Bay. The way to get to a high profile position is by throwing some people under the bus and making a couple stone faced lies.

    Seriously, the media should go attack some male athletic administrators who have probably done things a lot worse than anything this woman has done. She’s already at a disadvantage in her job just by being a woman in sports administration, she doesn’t need this impeding her ability to succeed.

    • hammerhead2020 - May 27, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      You have GOT to be kidding. You’re saying here that because she’s a woman we should all look the other way so this vile, abusive liar can succeed? I don’t freaking think so.

      Not only should we not give anyone a pass to abuse students due to gender, we should also acknowledge the all-male administration doing what they always do: circling the wagons to protect their reputations at the cost of student welfare. You might remember that they did the exact same thing during the rape fiasco or any of the other many instances where one of their inner circle broke the law (Sandusky, anyone?)

      Your point-of-view is asinine.

  6. larrybrown43 - May 27, 2013 at 5:51 PM

    So the assistant coach recalls everything but the head coach in question has no recollection of comments made on a wedding video or being abusive to her team? If there was never a video of the Rutgers basketball coach or Bobby Knight they’d still be employed. Also, the assistants at Rutgers denied/lied/fell on the sword for their coach as well.

  7. edavidberg - May 27, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    This incident makes this woman completely unfit for her position. The unanimous allegations of her team are sufficient for Rutgers to demand her resignation immediately. Of course the Rutgers President is behind her, he just hired her and to say otherwise would be an admission of incompetence.

  8. odojoe - May 27, 2013 at 9:03 PM

    What a bunch of vengeful wenches. Sixteen years ago their feeling were hurt. GET OVER IT!

  9. laffers - May 28, 2013 at 6:47 AM

    What she allegedly did 16 years ago doesn’t bother me. However, after being confronted with “the letter” from her former players, that was written when she was the volleyball coach, she COMPLETELY DENIED EVER SEEING IT, yet she resigned as a result of it.
    I have a real hard time with any kind of “cover-up” from anyone in a position of authority and for this reason alone, she, in my opinion, IS NOT of the right moral character to be the the AD!

  10. mogogo1 - May 28, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    She’s got to go. If she’d tackled the allegations head-on, it actually might have made her the perfect person to reform the atmosphere at Rutgers. But by issuing unbelievable denials it gives the impression she’ll just be covering any problems up.

    And the school president also should be shown the door. If he can’t background-check important hires any better than this, how much other stuff is he doing poorly? Only two possibilities are he failed to check on the most important thing he should have been looking into or he knew all about this and decided to hire her anyway. Either way, he can’t be left in charge.

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