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One day after footage of his behavior during practices was shown on the ESPN program Outside the Lines, Rutgers men’s basketball coach Mike Rice has been fired by the school as originally reported by multiple outlets.
In three seasons at the school Rice, formerly the head coach at Robert Morris, posted an overall record of 44-51 but managed to go just 16-38 in Big East play.
Despite the lack of on-court success it’s the video footage of abusive behavior in practices that led to Rice’s ouster.
Allegations of abusive behavior made by former Rutgers director of basketball development Eric Murdock, whose contract was not renewed by the school following the 2011-12 season. In the video shown by ESPN Rice is seen throwing basketballs at players and using profane language, including a homophobic slur.
After originally viewing the tapes athletic director Tim Pernetti suspended Rice for three games, fined him $75,000 and ordered him to undergo sensitivity training.
Once the public saw the video and realized the severity of Rice’s actions it became clear to many that the original punishment did not fit.
“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” said Pernetti in a statement released by the school. “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.
“Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community.”
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie released a statement on Tuesday that he was “deeply disturbed” by the footage, and other state politicians called for Rice to be fired.
The question now is whether or not more changes are made within the athletic department given the initial punishment.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Yet there’s no doubt that this is another black eye for a program that’s had its share of issues over the last decade.
Rice would be the fourth consecutive Rutgers men’s basketball coach to exit under a cloud of controversy. Kevin Bannon left in disgrace in 2001 after forcing his players to shoot naked free throws as part of a practice contest. Gary Waters’ fairly successful tenure ended shortly after he missed a 2006 game when a snowstorm trapped him at Kent State, his previous school, where he was being honored. Fred Hill was bought out in 2010 for insubordination after he made a scene at a Rutgers baseball game.
In the last year five players have transferred out of the program. At the end of last season Austin Carroll (American) and Gilvydas Biruta (Rhode Island) left, with Malick Kone, Vincent Garrett and Jerome Seagears announcing their intentions to leave at the end of the 2012-13 campaign.