Rutgers coach Mike Rice has been fired less than 24 hours after the video of him physically and verbally abusing players made its way to the public. The school officially released the news Wednesday morning.
The Star-Ledger and The Record, both newspapers out of New Jersey, initially reported Rice met with Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti Wednesday morning. After defending his initial decision and his coach on television Tuesday, public outcry over Rice still having a job led to Pernetti making a heel turn toward the inevitable: termination of Rice’s contract.
Senior Associate Athletic Director of Communications for Rutgers, Jason Baum, publicly broke the news in one tweet.
@JasonBaumRU - “Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice.”
The matter or Rice’s anger is an old one, dating back to last November/December, but this story became fire on gasoline Tuesday afternoon after ESPN obtained and released the clips of Rice chucking basketballs at players, kicking certain members of the team and berating them with offensive language that included a homophobic slur.
This led to those clips being shown on national news broadcasts and New Jersey politicians echoing the views of the general public in calling for Rice to be removed as coach. Rice was initially suspended three games, fined $50,000 by Rutgers and mandated to undergo anger management counseling, in addition to strict monitoring by the university.
“Moving forward, I will work to regain the trust of the Rutgers community,” Pernetti said in a statement Wednesday.
Rice is 44 years old and coached the club to a 44-51 record in three seasons.