Eddie Jordan has been named as someone who could become the next head basketball coach at Rutgers, but the question remains whether or not this is a smart decision for the program.
The position became available after former coach Mike Rice was fired due to various mental and physical abuse against his players that was caught on videotape. Sources say that Jordan could be named the next coach as soon as Monday (via ESPN).
Jordan is currently working as an assistant for the Los Angeles Lakers after three different stints as a head coach in the NBA. He has many appealing characteristics on paper, but here is an examination on what he could do for the program.
No College Experience
Jordan played for Rutgers from 1973-77, but since then has almost exclusively been involved in the NBA either as a player or a coach.
While there is nothing wrong with being around players at the highest level, college basketball is nothing like the professional league. There are different rules, different strategies and even different problems that you deal with on a regular basis.
The coach will have to be more of a teacher to the young players than he has ever been, as many will likely come onto the team very raw as far as ability goes.
Additionally, it is unknown how much success he will have in the recruiting game with no experience. With few ties to programs in the area, it will be a challenge to get top players in his first few years.
These problems could lead to poor results out of the gate.
Lack of Success as Head Coach
While the 58-year-old former player has been around the NBA for a while, he has not been able to stick with one team for an extended period. This is mainly due to his 257-343 overall record as a head coach between stops with the Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers.
He coached for parts of nine seasons, making the playoffs four times and winning a postseason series only once.
Throughout his career, teams generally underachieved compared to the talent on the roster. This inability to get the most of his players could remain a problem at Rutgers.
Opposite Personality of Mike Rice
After the Mike Rice fiasco, the school will be under a microscope, as the NCAA will make sure something like this never happens again. There is no better way to avoid this problem than to hire a coach with very few similarities to the one who left.
Rice was always intense on the sidelines, and that continued into practices. Conversely, Jordan's known as "Easy Ed" and was called "the antithesis of Mike Rice" by David Lariviere of Forbes.
Rutgers showed potential last season with a 12-4 start, but the team collapsed down the stretch by losing 12 of the final 15 games. It is possible the players who did not respond to the anger of Rice will play better under the direction of Jordan.
The Scarlet Knights need a player-friendly coach to rid themselves of this problem, and Jordan is a great choice.
Reinvigorate the Program
This is a huge moment for the future of Rutgers basketball. The school will move to the Big Ten after the 2013-14 season, and with that will come increased expectations.
Of course, the latest incident gave the school national attention for all the wrong reasons. Jordan has to get the program back in the right direction.
Incidentally, he is the perfect person to do that. He is an alumnus who has loads of NBA experience that will come to a school that hasn't had many positive events in recent history. If there is a person that can get the fans excited, this is him.
If Jordan can convince some big-time players to come to the school and have at least marginal success in his first year, it will give the school a lot of momentum as it changes conferences.
Would Eddie Jordan be a good hire for Rutgers?
In most of Eddie Jordan's stops in his career, his bosses were not patient enough to wait for him to turn things around. This could be a problem at Rutgers.
Fans, as well as the athletic department, must give the coach time to get acclimated to the college game and find a way to have success at this level.
If he is given opportunity to do things his way, Jordan could be very successful with the Scarlet Knights.