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Don’t hire former Rutgers coach Mike Rice

grabowskiMugFormer Rutgers head coach Mike Rice should never be hired as a basketball coach ever again.

The university fired Rice on April 3 after national furor arose surrounding video of him throwing basketballs at his players, shoving/grabbing them and using derogatory and homophobic slurs directed at them.


Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti wanted to fire Rice after 30 minutes of practice video was shown to him in December, but he lacked the support of his superiors and suspended Rice for three games while fining him $50,000.

Instead of firing Rice, university officials wanted to use a counseling program to rehabilitate Rice after an independent investigation found that immediate termination would go against university policy, according to Pernetti.

Twelve hours of footage and a national furor arising after ESPN broadcast parts of the video, heavily edited for language, seemed to have changed the university’s tune.

Now neither Rice nor Pernetti has a job. Pernetti resigned Friday due to his involvement in the scandal.

Rutgers’ interim senior vice president and general counsel John B. Wolf also resigned.

University President Robert L. Barchi looks like he’ll keep his job, but the whole university power structure seems to be shaky.

Yet ESPN’s Skip Bayless still thinks Mike Rice will be able to find a new job within a year or two.

That’s ludicrous.

This man abused 19 to 23-year-old kids physically and verbally.


The coach/player relationship should be one of mutual trust, understanding and love.

Louisville coach Rick Pitino talks at length about the love he has for his players.

Former North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano gushed about how much he cared about the young men under his care.

CSU coach Larry Eustachy only had one year to get to know his senior class, and he gave them all long, powerful hugs and talked to them for several minutes after their last game in Moby for senior night.

That’s what coaching should be. Not drilling players in the dome with basketballs from a few feet away or calling them another word for cigarettes.

That’s not to say none of the above coaches I’ve mentioned ever lost his temper in practice, or yelled to make a point.

But there’s a line. When you start abusing the young men who are putting their trust in you as a leader the line is already in your rearview mirror.

At least three players have reportedly transferred away from the Rutgers program due to Rice’s treatment, according to ESPN reports prior to his firing.

I couldn’t imagine putting in Division-I level work every day on the basketball court while keeping my head on a swivel for flying orange projectiles.

That type of environment isn’t conducive to learning or fostering the sense of camaraderie and growth that make team sports the incredible experience they are.

I’m not above giving people second chances.

People possess great capacity for change and improvement if they’re willing to dedicate themselves to progress.

But Rice already got his second chance. His December suspension should have been a time for reflection and self growth.

Clearly he missed the memo.

The fact of the matter, unfortunately, is that Rice will be able to find another job soon.

He’s a darn good coach.

For all the severity of his methods, they produced results.

The Scarlet Knights defeated two top-10 teams over the course of Rice’s tenure and stayed relevant in the ultra-competitive Big East.

Any university that hires him, however, will be taking the risk of this type of scandal happening on their practice courts as well.

Even worse, they’ll be knowingly subjecting their student athletes to abuse that could have been prevented.

Can’t say we didn’t warn them.

Sports Editor Kyle Grabowski can be reached at

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