For three seasons Mike Rice coached Rutgers. All three seasons, they were largely unsuccessful.
Tonight, after footage showing Rice throwing basketballs at players, pushing them and screaming homophobic slurs towards them leaked, he sits at home, just recently fired as the team’s head coach wondering if he’ll ever coach again?
The nation of basketball fans that have voiced there opinions on Twitter hope that he doesn’t come back into coaching ever.
The footage, which is a major trend right now, is shocking. The coach’s job at NCAA level is to get them to be not just better players but more importantly; better people. They’re at school and are pushing for their chosen career path and when you’re in the world of employment, whether you’re in the NBA, the European leagues or in a job away from basketball, you need to maintain a certain level of professionalism.
Rice showed none of that.
What was even more surprising is this person; away from the court was a different man all together. Rice moved his family from Pittsburgh to Little Silver in New Jersey. He quickly became part of the small Little Silver community; he often attended church functions and youth games that his children played in. But on the practice floor, some 30 miles away, unknown to everyone at the time, he was a different character.
On the floor on game day, Rice was emotional, not one for sitting down and signaling instructions. He was easily the most animated coach in the Big East, but his record was not one to be proud of. His win percentage was a woeful .296 in three seasons.
In the past, officials have chucked Rice out of games if any call went against his side, even if they were blatantly obvious he was often seen shouting and getting in his players faces, but this at times has been seen in high-level basketball, anywhere you went.
At practice though, he was an out of control animal. Three players sought transfers from Rutgers including Lithuanian Gilvydas Biruta, who went to Rhode Island prior to last season.
Biruta was singled out at times by the ruthless Rice. At one practice he hurled a ball, which hit the Lithuanian forward in the knee. The force was such that Biruta had to sit out practice with an injured knee.
Rice refered to Biruta as a Lithuanian this and Lithuanian that, and talked about where he’s from, ‘soft-ass Lithuanian bitch, soft-ass Lithuanian pussy. His nickname, according to Eric Murdock, a former NBA player and former director of player development for the Scarlet Knights was a Lithuanian faggot.
Today, as the news broke of Rice’s dismissal, the disgraced coach made a statement outside his home.
“I’ve let so many people down,” he said “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.
“It’s troubling, but I will at some time, maybe I’ll try to explain it, but right now, there’s no explanation for what’s on those films. Because there is no excuse for it. I was wrong. I want to tell everybody who’s believed in me that I’m deeply sorry.”
What happens to Rice now remains to be seen, but Rutgers will announce a new coach in the coming months.
Information for this article via ESPN Outside The Line and ESPN.com.