A day after a video compilation of player mistreatment aired on ESPN, Rutgers fired coach Mike Rice on March 3.
After the program recovers from a public relations nightmare which cost the job of the basketball coach, the work will begin to hire a replacement for a struggling program in transition.
Rutgers will be an intriguing job to fill. The Scarlet Knights are lacking in tradition an recent success. The Scarlet Knights have not had a winning season since 2006, have not reached the NCAA Tournament since 1991 as an Atlantic 10 team and have not won a tournament game since 1983. Yet Rutgers will move into the Big Ten in 2014, leaving a more logical fit geographically for what will be one of the top basketball conferences.
POTENTIAL CANDIDATES TO REPLACE MIKE RICE AT RUTGERS
Bill Carmody, former Northwestern coach
Carmody brought Northwestern to the brink of its first NCAA Tournament on several occasions but failed to get over the hump (injuries to key players at times didn’t help). To put that in perspective, Northwestern’s four consecutive NIT appearances were a big deal given the Wildcats’ history. Before Northwestern, Carmody went 28-0 in the Ivy League in his first two seasons at Princeton.
Tim Cluess, Iona
A New York native, Cluess has risen through the coaching ranks from high school to community college to Division II to Iona, where the Gaels have reached the NCAA Tournament the last two years. A former player at St. John’s, Cluess has never had a losing season as a college coach.
Fran Fraschilla, former New Mexico coach
His name has popped up for open jobs before, but he’s 11 seasons removed from his last coaching gig at New Mexico. Prior to that, the ESPN analyst reached the NCAA Tournament at Manhattan and St. John’s.
John Giannini, La Salle
La Salle was one of the last teams in the NCAA Tournament this season, but took advantage by going from the First Four to the Sweet 16. This season was the culmination of a long rebuild at La Salle. Giannini, who took over in 2004, led La Salle to its first back-to-back 20-win season since the Lionel Simmons era in the late 80s. Giannini previously won a Division III national title at Rowan in Glassboro, N.J.
Ben Howland, former UCLA coach
Rutgers would have a rare chance to hire a three-time Final Four coach, but then again, it’s also rare that a three-time Final Four coach gets fired. He’s spent most of his coaching career out West, but don’t forget that he become a national name by reviving Pittsburgh’s program a decade ago.
Danny Hurley, Rhode Island
Athlon ranked Hurley’s hire at Rhode Island the best coaching move in 2012-13. He’d be an even better fit at Rutgers. The ties to New Jersey run deep. His father, Bob Hurley, is the legendary coach at St. Anthony’s in Jersey City. Danny himself coached at St. Benedict’s in Jersey City before going to Wagner of the Northeast Conference. A former Rutgers assistant, Danny Hurley led Wagner to a school-record 25 wins after the program won only five games the year before he arrived.
Eddie Jordan, Los Angeles Lakers assistant
A Rutgers alum, Jordan would bring clout to a program lacking any. Jordan has had three stints as a head coach in the NBA, including four playoff appearances with the Washington Wizards.
Steve Masiello, Manhattan
A former assistant at Louisville under Rick Pitino, Masiello is 35-31 at Manhattan and 21-15 in the MAAC. Masiello is a former walk-on at Kentucky under Pitino and Tubby Smith.
Steve Pikiell, Stony Brook
Stony Brook has not had a postseason breakthrough under Pikiell, but the Seawolves have been one of the most consistent programs in the America East over the last four seasons. Stony Brook has won three of the last four regular season titles before losing in the conference tournament.
Al Skinner, former Boston College coach
Skinner hasn’t been a head coach since 2010, but he had more than two decades of experience at Rhode Island and Boston College. He rebuilt a struggling program at Rhode Island and thrived in the Big East at BC before the program tailed off after a handful assistants left and the Eagles moved to the ACC.