Rutgers men’s head basketball coach, Mike Rice is known for his temper tantrums. But this time he took his passion for the game a little too far, to say the least.
ESPN’s Outside the Lines recently showed videos detailing hours of abuse, physical and mental, that Rice has inflicted on his players during practice. In the video obtained by OTL, Rice is shown shouting homophobic slurs at his players and throwing basketballs at their heads and legs, among other appalling transgressions.
Some players couldn’t handle the ongoing abuse and even transferred. Among them, former Scarlet Knights forward Gilvydas Biruta. The young Lithuanian transferred to Rhode Island due to Rice’s behavior and detailed his former coach’s abuse, per ESPN:
“He would throw his cap at me and he would call me many names. The adjectives were creative. They were mean words. If you’re going to criticize me as a basketball player, I’m OK with that, but he would criticize me as a person.”
Rutgers athletic director Tom Pernetti suspended the coach for three games and fined him $50,000 after watching the video in November. He said he chose suspension rather than termination even though both options were on the table. Rice apologized to players “past and present” when suspended and vowed to make amends for his past behavior.
The 44-year-old coach has yet to have a winning season or make a postseason tournament appearance in his three years at Rutgers after taking the job prior to the 2010-11 season.
Amid mounting criticism, Rutgers has fire Rice. There will be a national search to replace him.
And that’s today’s helping of The Online Dish with Maggie.