Mike Rice Back to Work…At The Hoop Group; Will Appear on ’20/20′ Friday (UPDATED)
Former Rutgers coach Mike Rice is back to work at The Hoop Group.
Rice is listed on the organization’s website as part of the staff, and Hoop Group President Rob Kennedy confirmed to SNY.tv that Rice is the “Director of Hoop Group Headquarters.”
Kennedy said Rice will both work with kids and handle administrative duties.
“I won’t be perfect moving forward, but I’ve changed,” Rice told “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts in an interview for ABC’s “20/20” that he will appear Friday at 10 p.m. “Having that taken away, your dream job…and having it done in such a visible way…and hurting the people closest to me…it changes a person.”
“Mike has acknowledged his mistakes and has worked hard to make positive changes,” Kennedy told SNY.tv. “He has more passion and love of the game than any coach I have ever been around. I’m happy that Mike is able to share that energy with our Hoop Group participants.”
Rice worked at The Hoop Group prior to his coaching career and he and Kennedy have a longstanding relationship.
Rice also sat courtside Monday night for the St. John’s exhibition game.
He was fired at Rutgers last April amid a highly publicized scandal in which he hurled basketballs and homophobic slurs at his then-players. Several players transferred in the wake of the scandal, including Eli Carter (Florida), Mike Poole (Iona) and Derrick Randall (Pittsburgh).
Rice told 20/20 that he has since apologized to his former players.
“You know, whether it was texting, whether it was calling, whether it was, handwritten letters, whether it’s email, they don’t deserve this and especially the first year’s team,” he said. “Even though we were out-manned every single night, they really, really fought hard for me…and they’re almost embarrassed about that fact now. They’re embarrassed about being a Rutgers basketball player.”
Former Rutgers star Eddie Jordan was hired to replace Rice.
On media day, Jordan said of his players, “They wanted to come out of the doldrums, the shadows of the past, and they’ve come together and I’m happy about that. They’re a little bit ahead of schedule in that regard.”
After a period of rehabilitation, it is possible Rice could return to coaching down the road.
RICE HASN’T SEEN ‘SNL’ SKIT
In an extensive New York Times story, Rice says he hasn’t seen the ‘SNL’ skit featuring Melissa McCarthy that mocks him.
“No, I still haven’t seen it,” he said. “Everyone in my family has.”
Click here for the video.
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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 whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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.