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Rutgers coach under fire after slurs, abuse captured on video



Published: Wed, April 3, 2013 @ 12:07 a.m.

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Rutgers head coach and Boardman native Mike Rice has come under scrutiny after a video showing him physically and verbally abusing his players was released online.

Staff/wire report

NEWARK, N.J.

Rutgers said it would reconsider its decision to retain basketball coach Mike Rice after a videotape aired showing him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players in practice and using gay slurs.

Rice is the son of former Youngstown State coach Mike Rice, who coached the Penguins from 1982-87. The younger Rice grew up in the Mahoning Valley, graduated from Boardman High and played college basketball at Fordham.

The videotape, broadcast Tuesday on ESPN, prompted scores of outraged social media comments as well as sharp criticism from Gov. Chris Christie and NBA star LeBron James.

Athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the video in late November by a former employee. He suspended Rice for three games a month later, fined him $50,000 and ordered him to attend anger management classes.

In an interview with WFAN Radio in New York on Tuesday, Pernetti said university president Robert Barchi also viewed the tape last fall and agreed with the punishment.

But ESPN’s broadcast prompted an outcry, led by the governor himself.

“Governor Christie saw the video today for the first time and he is obviously deeply disturbed by the conduct displayed and strongly condemns this behavior,” spokesman Michael Drewniak said. “It’s not the type of leadership we should be showing our young people and clearly there are questions about this behavior that need to be answered by the leaders at Rutgers University.”

The Miami Heat’s James weighed in with a tweet: “If my son played for Rutgers or a coach like that he would have some real explaining to do and I’m still gone whoop on him afterwards! C’mon.”

Rice, who was hired by Pernetti three years ago, is 44-51 at Rutgers, including 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 Big East.


Comments

1soloncometforever(6 comments)posted 1 year, 6 months ago

I'm sorry to see that Youngstown has yet another "black eye". You see, Rice must have inherited the same coaching behavior of another Youngstown connection -- Bob Patton, Jr. ("Mr. Ohio Basketball").

As a head coach, Patton completely ruined three high school boys basketball programs in the Cleveland area -- Kenston, Westlake, and most recently, Solon by exhibiting insolent behavior; publicly lambasting players and school employees; "motivating” players by screaming, yelling, threatening, and insulting; emotional abuse of players through excessive and unnecessary use extreme vulgarity and offensiveness; and emotional abuse of players through degrading, disrespecting, defamatory, belittling, demeaning, humiliating, ridiculing and vilifying tactics and comments. These are not rumors. All of these concerns were brought to their respective Boards of Education.

Rice's behavior at Rutgers could not have just "developed"; after all, the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I'm sure somewhere in Rice's past, while coaching at other schools, he exhibited many of the same characteristics as he displayed at Rutgers. It's a shame no one stopped him then. Thank goodness the Board of Education put a stop to Bob Patton Jr.'s questionable coaching strategies and emotionally abusive motivation techniques.

Both Rice and Patton need to take this time to take a long, hard look at themselves and make some very serious changes in their lives. Maybe someone in Youngstown can start a rehab center for former coaches from Youngstown with anger management problems?

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