The videotape, broadcast Tuesday on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines”, prompted sharp criticism from Gov. Chris Christie, and the head of the New Jersey Assembly called for Rice to be fired.
With mounting criticism on a state and national level, the school decided to take action, relieving Rice of his duties after three largely unsuccessful seasons at the Big East school. There will be a national search to replace him.
The video shows Rice using excessive tactics in his coaching including verbally berating, grabbing, kicking, and throwing basketballs at his players. Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it:
Former Rutgers assistant coach Eric Murdock released was the tapes to ESPN, and had this to offer:
“[It’s] unbelievable to me that someone would feel that that technique could be successful,” Murdock, a former NBA player who was hired by in 2010 by Rice as his director of player development, told ESPN. “The problem is … that whenever Tim Pernetti came into the gym, Mike Rice was on his best behavior. … As soon as Tim Pernetti leaves it was every kid’s an [expletive], [expletive], [expletive], [expletive]. … To see your coach physically putting his hands on players, physically kicking players, firing balls at players from point-blank range, the verbal abuse, the belittling — I was, like, in total shock that this guy wasn’t immediately fired on the spot.”
The backlash regarding Rice’s tactics was severe and included criticism from high profile athletes, including LeBron James.
While some may argue that this type of coaching happens all the time, that doesn’t make it right in the least. Treating college kids that look up to you for guidance as if you have no respect for them is over the line. Yelling is one thing, but belittling and physically abusing players that may be reluctant to retaliate in fear of losing their scholarship is uncalled for and has no place in coaching.