News Column

Hurley Favored for Rice's Rutgers Coaching Job

Apr 3 2013 10:00PM

Joe Juliano and Matt Breen

Last month's run to the Sweet 16 thrust La Salle coach John Giannini into the national spotlight and surely made his name a popular one when coaching jobs opened up.

But Giannini said Wednesday afternoon that he had not been contacted by Rutgers after the university fired embattled coach Mike Rice, who was videotaped yelling gay slurs at his players and physically assaulting them.

"I've received zero contact from anybody," Giannini said when reached by phone in Atlanta. "And it's hard to speculate on anything when there's zero interest."

The early favorite for the Rutgers position is Rhode Island coach and former Scarlet Knights assistant Dan Hurley, 40. Other options are James Madison coach and South Jersey native Matt Brady, 45; and Geoff Billet, 36, who starred at Rutgers and was an assistant at Monmouth and Seton Hall before his current success as a high school coach at Christian Brothers Academy.

Rice replaced Brady as a St. Joseph's assistant in 2004 after Brady took the head coaching job at Marist. Hawks head coach Phil Martelli, whose son Jimmy worked under Rice at Rutgers, declined to comment through an athletic department spokeswoman.

Jimmy Martelli joined Rice as an assistant in 2007 at Robert Morris when Rice was named the head coach. They remained with the Colonials for three seasons until moving to Rutgers in May 2010. Martelli is Rice's lone assistant with Robert Morris ties, and it is unlikely that his contract will be renewed by Rutgers.

Hurley, the brother of former Duke star Bobby Hurley, was an assistant at Rutgers from 1997 to 2001. In 2010, he accepted the head coaching position at Wagner a month before Rutgers hired Rice.

In his first season at Rhode Island, Hurley finished 8-21 a year after guiding Wagner to a 25-5 mark. Bobby Hurley was named the head coach at Buffalo last week.

Strong reactions

John Thompson Jr., the father of current Hoyas coach John Thompson III, said Rice's actions amounted to "child abuse."

"Don't tell me that's the old way. That's the wrong way," Thompson said.

Evan Turner of the 76ers said he would not have "responded too well" to Rice's behavior, but he understands why the players did not seem to retaliate.

"People can say that this is what they would have done in that predicament, but you don't know unless you are in it," Turner said before Wednesday's game in Charlotte.

Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, winner of seven national titles, said: "There is no line that could be drawn that would make that behavior acceptable."


Controversial Coaches

Mike Rice joins the list of recent Rutgers men's basketball coaches who have left after unusual or controversial circumstances. Here is the list:

Fred Hill, resigned April 19, 2010: Hill agreed to a buyout after disobeying athletic director Tim Pernetti by attending a Rutgers-Pittsburgh baseball game. Hill had unleashed a profanity-laced outburst at the Pitt baseball coaches during a game two days earlier. Hill's father, Fred, is Rutgers' baseball coach. Rice replaced the younger Hill.

Gary Waters, announced resignation March 1, 2006: A few weeks before agreeing to a buyout of his contract at the end of the season, Waters traveled to Kent State to be inducted into that school's Hall of Fame. The ceremony was the night before a Rutgers home game as a large snowstorm approached New Jersey. Waters was unable to return for the game, and Hill, an assistant, filled in. Then-AD Robert Mulcahy reportedly was upset over the incident. Hill replaced Waters.

Kevin Bannon, fired March 20, 2001: Bannon was embroiled in controversy at the start of his tenure after he made players run sprints naked as part of a free-throw shooting contest at practice. The incident was pushed back into the spotlight in 2001 when the two players involved, Josh Sankes and Earl Johnson Jr., made the NCAA tournament with the schools to which they transferred. Waters replaced Bannon.

- T.J. Furman


Contact Joe Juliano at 215-854-4494 or Follow on Twitter @joejulesinq.

John N. Mitchell contributed to this article.

This article contains information from the Associated Press.


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