Rutgers picks Mike Rice to coach men’s basketball | Professional | -- Your State. Your News.

Jul 06th
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Rutgers picks Mike Rice to coach men’s basketball

ricemike050310_optBY MIKE VORKUNOV

Rutgers has decided upon a new men's basketball coach. After a two-week process, according to multiple sources Mike Rice will be named the next head coach of the program. The announcement may be made by as early as Wednesday depending on how quickly the two parties can agree upon the particulars of his contract.

The 41-year old accrued a 73-31 record at Robert Morris in three years, twice leading the school to the NCAA tournament. This spring he was previously a candidate for the Seton Hall opening and turned down Tulane's job before receiving a one-year contract extension. Rice was heavily pushed by the several prominent parties involved with high school basketball in New Jersey. Influential St. Anthony's coach Bob Hurley said publicly that Rice should be hired for the position. He also worked for the Hoop Group, an important syndicate in state. He made his bones as a top assistant for Jamie Dixon at Pittsburgh before being named Robert Morris coach.

Rice's hire ends a prolonged stretch for Rutgers where they ostensibly were without a coach. After former head coach Fred Hill's official resignation April 19 Rutgers set out on a search for his replacement.

Temple coach Fran Dunphy was thought to be a top option but did not reciprocate. Former Rutgers star and recently fired Philadelphia 76ers coach Eddie Jordan took himself out of the running.

It was soon down to ESPN personality Fran Fraschilla — a former Manhattan, St. John's and New Mexico coach — and Rice. Fraschilla was thought to be the early leader but he ultimately asked for several demands that Rutgers would not or could not meet, so they moved on from their perceived leading option.

Rice earned national notoriety in March when Robert Morris almost upset Villanova in the first round of the Tournament as a No. 15 seed. His emotional and excitable antics on the sidelines also offset some.

Rice will now takeover a program that lost Mike Rosario when he transferred to Florida but barely kept top recruit Gil Biruta as he wavered on staying. As of now the only other incoming recruit is shooting guard Austin Carroll to a scholarship roster occupied by sophomore center Brian Okam, forwards Jonathan Mitchell (senior), sophomores Dane Miller and Austin Johnson, and senior point guards Mike Coburn and James Beatty.

For more Rutgers and Seton Hall basketball news, follow Mike Vorkunov on Twitter at @Mike_Vorkunov. If you have any comments or criticisms, email Mike at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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