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.
Rutgers would have cause to fire Fred Hill for his profanity-laced tirade and subsequent insubordination, a New Jersey legal expert said.
“I think the profanity-laced tirade coupled with the insubordination, I think they would be on pretty firm ground firing him. I think that’s enough to can him based on that [“principles of conduct”] clause,” the expert said
Jerry Carino and Keith Sargeant of Gannett New Jersey cited “a source with knowledge of the process” saying that Hill “is likely to be terminated for cause Thursday.”
Hill reportedly let loose a profanity-laced tirade at Pittsburgh baseball coach Joe Jordano last Thursday at a Pitt-Rutgers baseball game that caused Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti to say he was “actively investigating” the situation.
Pernetti then reportedly told Hill to stay away from future Pitt-Rutgers baseball games, but Hill attended Saturday’s game anyway, hiding in a car where Pernetti saw him.
That could lead to Hill being fired for insubordination, a source told Gannett New Jersey.
If Hill is found to have violated the “principles of conduct” in his contract, Rutgers could avoid paying out the $1.8 million he is owed over three years.
“Insubordination is a huge employment problem,” the legal expert said. “If you can’t tell somebody, ‘You’re not going to be permitted to do this,’ and they can say, ‘I am doing it,’ that undermines the whole relationship. You have to be required to do what you’re told to do,” the legal expert said.
“[Hill] shows up, he unleashes this tirade. His father’s the coach. He’s emotionally involved. It certainly casts the university in a negative light. There’s nothing good about that.
“His supervisor tells him not to retun [to the baseball field] and he returns anyway. I think they certainly have a good argument [to fire him].”
If Rutgers does fire Hill, they would have to hire a coach several weeks after Big East rivals Seton Hall and St. John’s both conducted coaching searches that landed Kevin Willard and Steve Lavin, respectively.
Nearly a dozen coaching changes have gone on in the metropolitan area this offseason and Rutgers would be left to hire a new coach late in the process.
Robert Morris coach Mike Rice, who led his team to back-to-back NCAA tournaments and is deeply tied into the New Jersey/Philly recruiting scene, would be one option.
Another would be ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, but the former St. John’s and Manhattan coach recently pulled himself out of the Iona situation to remain at ESPN. Iona is set to announce former CW Post coach Tim Cluess as its new coach.
Against this backdrop, Rutgers star Mike Rosario met with Pernetti Wednesday to discuss his future.
While Pernetti obviously wants to keep Rosario if possible, sources said Rosario’s “got his mind made up” that he wants to leave.
Sophomores Greg Echenique (Creighton) and Pat Jackson (undecided) have already opted to transfer, while Rutgers’ top recruit for 2010, St. Benedict’s Prep senior forward Gilvydas Biruta, called Pernetti this week to ask for his release.
All told, 11 players have transferred on Hill’s watch in four years. Rosario would be No. 12.
(Photo courtesy NewJerseyNewsroom.com)
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, 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.