In a story straight out of the stranger-than-fiction file, former Rutgers men's basketball head coach Mike Rice is still prowling the hardwood and very much involved with coaching young people.
Just weeks after being fired from his former position for abusing players at team practices, Deadspin published a series of tweets by Brian Geltzeiler—founder of HoopsCritic.com—reporting that Rice was at a high school in New Jersey coaching an AAU team for 12-year-old girls.
One of my moles is watching Mike Rice coach 12 year old girls at Holmdel High in NJ right now as crazy as ever yelling @ both refs and kids— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) April 14, 2013
Just to clarify.I'm not joking.Mike Rice is actually coaching a 7th grade girls AAU team today and he's still acting like a mad man....— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) April 14, 2013
Was just told that Rice has had this AAU 7th grade girls gig while he was coaching Rutgers.Has been the coach all season....— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) April 14, 2013
Just this afternoon Rice told a 12 year old girl,"I can't even look at you" and the ref told my guy he would have T'd him up 2x if it was HS— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) April 14, 2013
Some of Rice's players parents are saying that his antics are being mischaracterized.Witnesses I talk to tell me that he's as nuts as ever— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) April 15, 2013
Former Temple player @mikethreeswyk saw Rice yesterday at Stone Bridge Middle School and used the word "lunatic" to describe his coaching— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) April 15, 2013
As you can see, these are some strong (and specific) allegations from Geltzeiler’s sources.
Rice's involvement with the girl's youth team is nothing new, according to the Asbury Park Press, as his daughter Katie is one of the players on the roster. The publication also alleges that parents of girls on the team responded on Twitter to the Deadspin article, blaming the contributor for distorting the truth.
A source close to the team reportedly told SportsNet New York that the Deadspin article “is a gross misrepresentation of the facts” and “the team’s parents are fully behind coach Rice and his instruction of their daughters.”
To be clear, Rice’s transgressions at Rutgers involved shoving players, as well as hurling basketballs and slurs of all stripes at the young men under his supervision. The video evidence would lead to his eventual dismissal from the team.
Given Rice’s track record, it’s worth considering whether you believe Rice would actually abuse these children (along with his own daughter) right in front of their own parents. I know most fathers would strangle a man in the middle of the basketball court if their little princess was being demeaned in public.
With that being said, we can only hope parents are watching Rice at team practices, lest they turn into dodgeball games.
Still parsing this strange reality out: Dr__Carson