Monday, May 3, 2010

Rice The New Knight In Charge

After being linked to Seton Hall before Pirates hired Kevin Willard, Mike Rice finds home in Big East after all; taking job at Rutgers earlier today. (Photo courtesy of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Tim Pernetti can finally put the Fred Hill fiasco behind him, as he has found the man to lead Rutgers basketball into the next decade.

In a story broken just a few hours ago by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mike Rice has agreed to become the new head coach of the Scarlet Knights, and the same report states that both program and coach are working on a contract, with no press conference announced as of yet. The 41-year-old Rice comes to Rutgers on the heels of consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances at the helm of Robert Morris, including a near-upset of Villanova in the first round this year as a 15 seed. Rice guided the Colonials to a 73-31 record in three years.

According to Jon Rothstein of 1050 ESPN Radio in New York, the hire has been "well-received" by those close to the university. Rice, a graduate of Fordham University in the Bronx, has New York ties as well as Big East roots, having been a former assistant to Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon, who has recruited the Big Apple very well in the past.

Regardless of how well Rice can recruit New York and New Jersey, he will inherit a Rutgers team that loses its leading scorer from last season, as sophomore guard Mike Rosario has transferred to the University of Florida. The Scarlet Knights will be led next season by forwards Dane Miller and Jonathan Mitchell after losing Rosario, Greg Echenique, and Pat Jackson all within twelve months of one another.

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