A day removed from Mike Rice’s firing, and Rutgers is already on the hunt for its next men’s basketball head coach.
A video tape of Rice verbally and physically abusing players was aired Tuesday on ESPN, and eventually led to his firing Wednesday.
According to a report by Yahoo!Sports Adrian Wojnarowski and Pat Forde, Rutgers has identified Rhode Island head coach Dan Hurley and Lawrence Frank of the NBA’s Detroit Pistons as the top choices to replace Rice.
As a descendant of the famous New Jersey basketball family, Hurley is seen as an emerging coach, and could also rally the community around the university, with questions being fired at athletic director Tim Pernetti about why Rice wasn’t fired sooner for his outlandish behavior.
According to ESPN, Pernetti's job security is also in doubt, which could mean the coach search may have to be put on hold if he is fired as well.
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Rice’s beyond-rough coaching style didn’t produce results in the Scarlet Knight’s final season in the Big East before they move to the Big Ten. The team went 15-16 overall, with a 5-13 conference record. In three seasons, Rice produced consecutive sub-.500 results, going 44-51.
Hurley’s father, Bob, is already a member of the Hall Of Fame with his success at high school basketball national powerhouse St. Anthony’s in Jersey City, and his brother, Bobby, was one of the best players in the nation at Duke in the early 1990s.
After nine seasons at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey, Hurley then spent two seasons at Wagner, amassing a 38-23 record, and just wrapped up his first season in Rhode Island with an 8-21 mark.
His deep ties to the New Jersey community may also give Hurley a leg up in recruiting a talent laden state that typically sees top players scatter across the country rather than play in front of a home crowd.
With Detroit heading for the NBA lottery once again, Frank may be enticed this time around. Yahoo! reported Frank was under consideration for the Rutgers job before they hired Rice, but ultimately decided to stay in the professional ranks. Earlier this season, Frank also went home to New Jersey with the permission from the Pistons due his wife, Susan, being ill.
Frank has worked the college sidelines before, making stops as an assistant in Tennessee and Marquette, then jumping to the NBA. In 2004 he was named the head coach of the New Jersey Nets, and won two Atlantic Division titles in seven seasons, before he was fired after starting the 2009-10 season 0-16.
Bobby Hurley may have wished he waited another week before he agreed to coach Buffalo. He was an assistant on Dan’s staff at Rhode Island before signing on with the Bulls for his first head coaching job.