Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Mike Rice was fired as the head coach at Rutgers early Wednesday morning in the wake of the videotape scandal.
“Based upon recently revealed information and a review of previously discovered issues, Rutgers has terminated the contract of Mike Rice,” Rutgers spokesman Jason Baum wrote in a Tweet.
“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” said Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti. “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.”
Speaking to WABC in New Jersey, Rice said: “I can’t say anything right now, except I’m sorry. … I’ve let everybody down.
“There is no excuse for it, I was wrong….I am deeply sorry for the pain and the hardship that I have caused. Thank you very much.”
With that in mind, below is a preliminary list of potential coaching options going forward at Rutgers.
Keep in mind that after one year in the soon-to-be-renamed Big East, Rutgers heads to the Big Ten in 2014 and will need a coach capable of matching wits with the Tom Izzos, John Beileins, Tom Creans and Bo Ryans of the world.
Eddie Jordan — The former coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings, Jordan played at Rutgers during the glory years in the mid-70s and helped the team reach the 1976 Final Four. He was reportedly in the mix for the Rutgers job in 2010.
Paul Hewitt — The George Mason coach grew up in Queens, has ties to the New York/New Jersey recruiting circles and was linked to the St. John’s vacancy in 2010 when Steve Lavin was hired. In 11 seasons under Hewitt, Georgia Tech went to the NCAA Tournament five times.
Chris Mooney — The 40-year old Philadelphia native and former Princeton star led Richmond to the Sweet 16 in 2011 and to the postseason five times in eight years as head coach of the Spiders. More of a mild-mannered figure on the sidelines, he is 165-129 as a college head coach, which included one season at Air Force in 2004-05.
Chris Mack — The Cleveland native took Xavier to the Sweet 16 in 2010 and 2012. With Xavier slotted to join the Big East next year, would he want to enter the Big 10 as a bottom-tier team? Again, money would probably be an issue.
Seth Greenberg — The former Virginia Tech coach and current ESPN analyst is an FDU grad and a New York native. Keep in mind that Rice makes a reported $655,000 at Rutgers, and that probably isn’t enough to lure somebody like Greenberg away from ESPN.
Fran Fraschilla — A Brooklyn native and former St. John’s coach, Fraschilla hasn’t coached since 2002. He has his own history of issues from his tenures at New Mexico and St. John’s, but is generally respected and liked in the industry.
Bill Carmody — The recently fired Northwestern coach has a clean image and a strong academic background, but never won in the Big Ten. Former Rutgers coach Freddie Hill was also on his staff at Northwestern.
Danny Hurley — Many around New Jersey hope/expect that Hurley will one day take over at Rutgers or Seton Hall, but this may not be the right time. Hurley will begin his second season at Rhode Island next season and has a loaded team with several transfers becoming eligible, including Rutgers transfer Gilvydas Biruta, who figures prominently in the Mike Rice tapes.
John Giannini — The La Salle coach is widely respected and would be a cooler, calmer option following the fiery Rice. He just led La Salle to the Sweet 16 and has deep recruiting ties in the New York/New Jersey/Philly corridor.
Tommy Amaker — The former Seton Hall and Michigan coach just led Harvard to the NCAA Tournament for the first time and is a relatively hot name. His relationship with the New Jersey media was often strained, though, and he may not want to return to the state.
Ben Howland –– The recently-fired UCLA coach knows the Big East from his time at Pitt, and could reunite with ace recruiter Barry Rohrssen to recruit the New York area. Again, the money probably isn’t enough to lure a guy like Howland.
Bob Knight — As we reported in this column, Knight was interested in the Rutgers job in 2010. Although it’s an extreme long shot, as his son Pat told me in 2010, “If I’m St. John’s or Rutgers, to me, you gotta be an idiot … if you’re an AD or president, it doesn’t hurt to call.”
Rutgers University Athletic Director Tim Pernetti calls into GEICO SportsNite to talk about the conduct of head basketball coach Mike Rice.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.