By Dara Sharif
With the appointment of Eddie Jordan as men's basketball coach, Rutgers University hopes to turn the page on the abuse scandal that has rocked its athletic program.
Jordan, a Rutgers alum with two decades' experience in the NBA, most recently as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers, pledges to help bring "integrity" back to the Scarlet Knights and the university as a whole. When Rutgers joins the Big Ten in the fall of 2014, Jordan would be the only Black men's basketball coach in the conference.
"We want our guys to feel good about themselves, about their future, about their basketball team," Jordan said on Tuesday at a news conference welcoming him to the school. "That is part of my responsibility, but as always it's also part of yours because we're all one and we all need help to regain our integrity back."
Jordan has his work cut out for him.
Rutgers came under fire after video showed former coach Mike Rice making anti-gay slurs and physically abusing players during practice. The video came to light in November, but Rutgers did not fire Rice until April after the video went viral.
The decision was too little, too late for many. Critics, including DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti, a member of the Rutgers Board of Trustees and of the Rutgers Board of Governors Standing Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics, said Rutgers should have fired Rice on the spot.
Now, Rutgers hopes to rebuild its credibility with the hiring of Jordan to lead its basketball program.