Trebby: Mike Rice situation a rare case

Matt Trebby
Matt Trebby

Mike Rice and Tim Pernetti both should have been fired. Pernetti’s ability to resign before he was fired is ridiculous.

I haven’t talked to anyone who disagrees with that. It’s almost as much fact as opinion.

When the story of Rice’s ridiculous antics and Rutgers’ inability to fire a coach who clearly has no idea how to motivate his players was at the pinnacle of its popularity, there were national writers and reporters saying this is not necessarily unheard of. They claimed more than a few coaches act in such a ridiculous manner.

I have a really difficult time believing that for a few different reasons, one of which is that it doesn’t work. Bob Knight was especially aggressive with his players at times but had success, but Knight is one of the greatest basketball minds the game has ever seen. Rice had no success at Rutgers.

In three years at Robert Morris before becoming the head coach of the Scarlet Knights, Rice went 46-8 in the Northeast Conference. There was promise for him as a head coach in a BCS conference.

Unfortunately, his three years at Rutgers – which, to be fair, is not enough time to build a successful program – were full of mediocrity.

You cannot win by coaching like Rice did. What kind of player would respond positively to being treated like that? I want to meet the guy who gets amped and excited to play by having a ball thrown at him and being called a homophobic slur. If you’re a player like that, you don’t need to play for a guy like Rice; you need to get help or find different ways to be motivated.

That’s why this is not at all common practice. There definitely are some coaches who treat their players with a bit more hostility than most, but there’s no way other coaches are doing what Rice was doing.

Unfortunately, Rice might have picked up some overly aggressive tactics at Marquette, under former head coach Mike Deane. Rice was an assistant at Marquette from 1994-97 for Deane, who is known for being similarly “intense.” While at Wagner as the head coach, Deane had to have a seatbelt put on his chair on the bench so he wouldn’t yell at the referees so much.

This is a rare situation, and don’t let anyone else tell you any differently. While I’m not a former college coach, for the sake of humanity and from everything I have heard about the situation at Rutgers, Rice deserved to be fired for his abusive, unacceptable and moronic coaching practices.