Eddie Jordan has been pegged by the Rutgers Basketball program as the successor to Mike Rice. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Friday that the school made Jordan an offer and that the two parties would discuss terms over the weekend.
Jordan was not the school’s first choice to replace Rice, though. University of Rhode Island coach Danny Hurley was offered the position but turned it down earlier in the week (h/t ESPN’s Andy Katz).
While Jordan may not have been their first option, he is the best choice to lead the Scarlet Knights in the wake of this controversy.
The task isn't going to be easy, though.
Rutgers, a team that has struggled in recent years, is preparing for a move to the Big Ten conference and is still surrounded by negative media attention from the Rice scandal. That makes the head coaching position very unappealing for most candidates.
The Scarlet Knights made the right move by pursuing Jordan, an alumnus and former player for the school. He is likely willing to disregard those factors for a chance to coach his alma matter. Rutgers needs to close the deal quickly and begin the process of rebuilding its program.
Getting Jordan in place will allow them to fix their administrative issues while allowing their team to focus on building a successful basketball program.
As a coach, Jordan brings NBA experience to the table after a stint with the Sacramento Kings and head coaching jobs with the Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers. He is currently employed as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.
His playing career started in Rutgers from 1973-77 and included a Final Four appearance in 1976. From there, he played for five different teams in the NBA from 1977-84.
Jordan sees himself as an ideal fit for the job, too.
“The only college I would coach would be Rutgers, and I believe it makes complete sense for me to be the next Rutgers coach, or to at least be heavily considered," Jordan said, according to Paul Franklin of NJ.com.
Jordan is known as a “player’s coach.” That description is a far cry from whatever Mike Rice was to his players.
Beyond that, though, he is also a great and innovative offensive mind. His adaption of the Princeton Offense in the NBA may have failed in Los Angeles, but it did wonders for the Washington Wizards during his tenure as head coach.
While in Washington, Jordan led the Wizards to four straight playoff appearances before being fired after a 1-10 start in 2008.
He has led teams to success and has been a strong proponent of others’ successes throughout his career. His attitude, winning pedigree and connection to the Rutgers program makes him a no-brainer selection to lead the school in the wake of Rice’s dismissal.
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