Mar 13, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Mike Rice cheers on his team against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the second half of a Big East tournament game at Madison Square Garden. Notre Dame won 69-61. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Coaching and Teaching: Where Mike Rice Failed at Both

Skip Prosser who I had the pleasure of knowing and working for during the summer time while he was a coach at Wake Forest always talked about teaching and coaching were the fundamental components of basketball coaches across the country. The goal of any coach is to help student athletes maximize their potential and in doing that you have to demand excellence. Mike Rice tried to bully his players into performing on the basketball court and forgot the root of his job which was to develop young men on and off the court.

When I first watched the video of Rutgers basketball practice I was angry that any coach would treat his players with such disrespect. He kicked players, hit players, threw basketballs at them and used homophobic slurs to degrade their performance. If one of my children had a coach that treated them as Mike Rice treated his players I cannot begin to express my anger and thoughts of what I would want to do to this man. I am positive this behavior is not the norm in college basketball, but this idea that coaches can bully their players into performing is something as a society we need move past. Coaches who hold their players accountable for their play but build positive relationships with them are the coaches who will have sustained success for years to come. Throwing balls at someone may be fun in a dodge ball tournament, but when you are the head coach of basketball team you come across as a lunatic with major issues.

Imagine if one of the Rutgers players is homosexual and the leader of the basketball program not only condones homophobic slurs he uses them to belittle players as if being homosexual is lower form of life. Our society cannot allow anyone to use homophobic words to belittle anyone. Would Mike Rice have used racial slurs toward his players? NO, but somewhere he thought calling players “faggots” was an acceptable form of motivation.
Mike Rice’s behavior as despicable as it may be may pale in the light of the administration allowing such behavior to occur with only suspending the coach for three games and asking him to seek counseling. One would think that in the last year with the number of problems at Universities the last thing an athletic director would want to do is brush something as severe as the video shown on ESPN under the rug. I question the leadership of the athletic director moving forward and I pose this question: Would you feel safe sending your son/daughter to Rutgers with Tim Pernetti looking out for their best interest?

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