Rutgers is close to an agreement with Eddie Jordan of the Los Angeles Lakers for its head coaching job, with the sides reportedly meeting to finalize a contract.
The Lakers assistant would take over for the outsted Mike Rice, allowing Rutgers to start a new chapter. Earlier this month a video surfaced of Rice being verbally and physically abusive with Rutgers players, and it was uncovered that the Scarlet Knights had suspended Rice for three games and fined him $50,000 earlier this season.
When the story broke, Rutgers received nationwide criticism for its seemingly lenient punishment. The school was criticized even more when it delayed in firing Rice once the story went nationwide.
Athletic director Tim Pernetti, who himself resigned in April, said he believed Rice deserved a second chance.
“I am responsible for the decision to attempt a rehabilitation of Coach Rice,” Pernetti said. “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.”
Now that the college has taken a new track, firing Rice and moving forward from the scandal, Eddie Jordan would seem a logical choice for Rutgers. He played for the Scarlett Knights from 1973-77, helping take the team to the Final Four in 1976. He also has NBA head coaching experience with Sacramento, Washington, and Philadelphia.
The Rutgers coaching search seemed focused on Dan Hurley last week, but he received a contract extension from Rhode Island and opted to stay there. Hurley, who went 8-21 with the Rams last year, has strong ties to New Jersey, where he grew up and where his father Bob Sr. is a legendary high school basketball coach.
Eddie Jordan is said to be meeting with Rutgers athletic officials Sunday to finalize a deal.