Fired Rutgers Basketball Coach Still Coaching 12-Year-Old Girls
Mike Rice, who was fired from Rutgers University earlier this month after a video leaked of him cursing and throwing basketballs at his players, still hasn't left the basketball-coaching business entirely.
Brian Geltzeiler, founder of the website hoopscritic.com, broke the news over the weekend that even after being fired from Rutgers, Rice is still coaching an Amateur Athletic Union team of 12-year-old girls.
One of my moles is watching Mike Rice coach 12 year old girls at Holmdel High in NJ right now as crazy as ever yelling @ both refs and kids— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) April 14, 2013
Just this afternoon Rice told a 12 year old girl,"I can't even look at you" and the ref told my guy he would have T'd him up 2x if it was HS— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) April 14, 2013
Just to clarify.I'm not joking. Mike Rice is actually coaching a 7th grade girls AAU team today and he's still acting like a mad man....— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) April 14, 2013
Former Temple University player Mike Vreeswyk added fuel to the fire on Sunday in response to Geltzeiler's series of tweets.
Deadspin caught wind of Geltzeiler's tweets and published a story to that effect, asking, "Is it possible these girls and their parents have no idea what's been going on in their own backyard?"
As it turns out, Rice's daughter is one of the 12-year-old girls on the team, according to SNYRutgers.com. He's been coaching the New Jersey Shoreshots for the past three seasons, ever since being hired as the head basketball coach at Rutgers back in 2010.
A number of parents whose daughters play for the Shoreshots have taken to Rice's defense since the story broke over the weekend.
Jerry Carino, the college basketball writer for the Gannet New Jersey newspapers, tweeted the following only hours after the Deadspin story went up:
Word from our local people is that this Rice/AAU thing is a distortion and the team's parents are very upset with Deadspin. Let's move on.— Jerry Carino (@NJHoopsHaven) April 15, 2013
One of the team's parents also told SNYRutgers.com that "The Deadspin report is a gross misrepresentation of the facts," saying that "the team's parents are fully behind Coach Rice and his instruction of their daughters."
On Monday, CBSsports.com refuted the report that Rice crossed a line over the weekend after speaking to three parents who have daughters on Rice's AAU team.
"I was there all weekend, and nothing happened," one of the parents told CBSsports.com. "There were no expletives, there was nothing over the line. There was nothing egregious, nothing demeaning, and nothing that jeopardizes the safety of the children."
As noted by Rob Dauster of NBCsports.com, "at that age, parents still attend practices," which drastically reduces the chances that he's throwing basketballs at their daughters' heads.
Gary Parrish of CBSsports.com summarized the situation well in a column published today.
"If the parents of the players are OK with Rice coaching—and they must be or else he wouldn't be coaching, right?—why should I or anybody else unrelated to the situation care one way or another?"
Based on the reports from those who spoke directly to parents of players on the AAU team, the Rutgers version of Rice is nowhere to be seen.
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