NEWARK, NJ – Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice has been fired following a video aired on ESPN showing an angry tirade during practice, according to the school’s athletic department.
“Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice,” the department announced Wednesday on its official Twitter account.
The video, made public Tuesday, showed him shouting profanities and derogatory terms at his players. He also could be seen throwing basketballs at the players and shoving them.
“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 will there be any excuse,” Rice said to WABC. “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 that their father was an embarrassment to them.”
Athletic director Tim Pernetti received the video in November but did not fire Rice after an internal investigation.In a statement after the decision to part ways Wednesday, Pernetti said he was “responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of coach Rice.”
“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,” he said. “Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”
The behavior initially earned the coach a three-game suspension and a $50,000 fine.
“Needless to say, there was a lot of behavior here that was unacceptable and not to the Rutgers standard,” Pernetti told News 12 New Jersey prior to the dismissal. “That’s why we handed out the significant amount of suspension that we did.”
The video was made available to ESPN by Eric Murdock, a Rutgers director of player development whose contract was not renewed. It aired on Outside the Lines Tuesday.
Rice took the job at Rutgers in 2010 after a successful run in three seasons at Robert Morris. Rutgers finished with a 15-16 record, including 5-13 in Big East play, in 2012-2013.
The team has a combined record of 44-51, 16-38 Big East, in Rice’s three years in Newark.
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