Cleaning House at Rutgers University
As Rutgers University president Robert Barchi has shown that he knows very little about athletics and even less about crisis management but give him credit for moving quickly following the end of a football season that can be summed up in one word: embarrassing.
Sunday Barchi summoned Athletic Director Julie Hermann to his home and fired her after 2 ½ rocky years on the job and a short time later dismissed football coach Kyle Flood during a phone call as he was on a recruiting trip to Long Island. He and the school did not waste any time in filling Hermann’s position as Patrick Hobbs the former Dean of Seton Hall Law School was hired and given a five-year contract.
Hobbs, a close ally of Governor Christie, served as an interim Athletic Director for a period during his tenure at Seton Hall and is considered a “basketball guy” but has no experience with football and his first task is to find a new coach.
It’s certainly no surprise that Rutgers moved quickly to fire Flood, who has spent 11 years with the program and the last four as head coach. This past season was a disaster on and off the field and ended Saturday with the Scarlet Knights blowing a 21-point lead and losing to Maryland at home with plenty of empty seats. The fans who did show up were in a booing mood and they let it be known they were not happy with Flood and the program which received more headlines for off-field problems than on-field success.
He went 27-24 as head coach but Rutgers is 4-12 in their brief Big Ten tenure and clearly it was time for a change. Flood should be applauded through for continued success in graduating players which is something that should not be overlooked.
Hobbs, Barchi and the Board of Governors need to get this next hire correct and there will be no shortage of candidates starting with former head coach Greg Schiano, who failed miserably in the NFL and is ready to return to the sidelines. While he had success at Rutgers many did not like the way he left and the school may feel it’s better to try something new then go back to the old.
In that case there is former Red Bank Catholic scholastic standout Al Golden, who worked miracles at Temple and cleaned up the program at Miami before being fired this season. Golden knows New Jersey, is a great recruiter and a stand-up guy and would seem to fit the bill. There’s also current Temple coach Matt Rhule and P.J. Fleck, a former Schiano assistant who has done a remarkable job at Western Michigan.
Rutgers took the first steps Sunday but now must take a leap of faith and come up with the right person to restore pride to the banks of the old Raritan.