PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Once the video went viral, Mike Rice’s coaching days at Rutgers were over.
Now the question is whether anyone else will lose their jobs — including the athletic director who in December suspended and fined Rice for the abusive behavior, and the university president who signed off on it.
Rice was fired Wednesday, one day after a video surfaced of him hitting, shoving and berating his players with anti-gay slurs.
Rice, in his third season with the Scarlet Knights, apologized outside his home in Little Silver, N.J.
“I’ve let so many people down: my players, my administration, Rutgers University, the fans, my family, who’s sitting in their house just huddled around because of the fact their father was an embarrassment to them,” he said. “I want to tell everybody who’s believed in me that I’m deeply sorry for the pain and hardship that I’ve caused.”
Athletic director Tim Pernetti was given a copy of the tape by a former employee in November and, after an independent investigator was hired to review it, Rice was suspended for three games, fined $75,000 and ordered to attend anger management classes. University President Robert Barchi agreed to the penalty.
Pernetti initially said Tuesday he and Barchi viewed the video in December. The president issued a statement Wednesday, saying he didn’t see it until Tuesday and then moved to fire the 44-year-old coach for repeated abusive conduct. Through a school spokesman, Pernetti backed up his president and said Barchi did not view the video until this week.
RICHARD PITINO HIRED AS NEW COACH: In Minneapolis, Richard Pitino agreed to take over for the fired Tubby Smith, the university announced on Wednesday evening. Athletic director Norwood Teague said the final terms of the contract would be worked out as the week goes on and Pitino was expected to be introduced by Friday.
In his lone season at Florida International, the son of Louisville coach Rick Pitino led the Panthers to an 18-14 record, the school’s first winning season in 13 years. He turns 31 in September.
HENDERSON WRITES APOLOGY LETTER: In Oxford, Miss., Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson posted a letter on the school’s athletic website on Wednesday apologizing for some of his actions during a successful but turbulent season.
The 6-foot-2 junior averaged more than 20 points per game this season, leading the Rebels to their first NCAA tournament since 2002. But Henderson became more known for his exuberant celebrations and trash talking than his scoring ability. Multiple media outlets also reported that Henderson made an obscene gesture toward the crowd following the team’s season-ending loss to LaSalle.
Henderson wrote that he plays the game with “a lot of passion, and sometimes that passion boils over.” He also apologized to “anyone I offended” and that he “can take things too far.”
Ole Miss spokesman Daniel Snowden said Henderson is not facing any discipline.
Cal State Northridge
THEUS HIRED: In Los Angeles, Reggie Theus is back in college basketball as coach of the men’s team at Cal State Northridge.
Athletic director Brandon Martin announced the former NBA player’s hiring on Wednesday. Theus succeeds Bobby Braswell, who was fired March 17 after 17 years that included three 20-win seasons and two NCAA tournament appearances.
Martin calls it “a game-changing hire” for the Big West school, saying it will help the Matadors build a national profile.
Theus signed a multi-year contract that takes effect April 15. He has been coach of the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA’s D-League since October 2011.
Theus coached at New Mexico State from 2005-07 and was an assistant under Rick Pitino at Louisville from 2003-05.
He is the third coach hired at a Division I school in Los Angeles in recent days. UCLA hired Steve Alford and Southern California hired Andy Enfield.