Rutgers has announced the firing of men’s head basketball coach Mike Rice today. Amid a firestorm of public backlash after video footage of Rice’s practices surfaced, their hand was forced. Forced or not, they ultimately came to the right decision.
The troubling part about the video clips is that apparently, this behavior was routine. We were only privy to the “highlights” of Mike Rice’s rage. Passion is a position requirement for a coach. Colorful language, emphatic gestures and rousing speeches are to be expected. Rice’s tactics surpassed insanity.
Quite frankly, the more I watch the tape, the more I wonder how one of those players didn’t snap.
Rice is shown pushing players and throwing basketballs at players, while using streams of expletives that would make Joe Pesci proud. It amazes me that one of them didn’t retaliate. Latrell Sprewell could’ve learned a thing or two from this bunch. How they managed to keep their cool is beyond me.
I’m all for hard-nosed coaching tactics. I’ve had coaches that would yell from the start of practice until the end of practice, and then they’d yell some more. I’ve had coaches that have treated practice as a canvas for new, artful ways to articulate four-letter words. They were some of my favorite coaches. However, Rice took it to an offensive level. If you haven’t seen the footage, here is a clip of the footage that first aired on ESPN’s Outside the Lines: