Rutgers doesn’t seem able to escape controversy, with the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., reporting that Julie Hermann, the university’s recently hired athletic director, has an abusive past similar to former men’s basketball coach Mike Rice.
If true, it’s the second blemish on the Rutgers record since Rice was dismissed for verbally and physically abusing his players.
First came the revelation that former Scarlet Knights basketball player Eddie Jordan, an NBA veteran and former Lakers assistant coach, was not an alumnus as advertised when he was hired to replace Rice. Jordan never earned a degree from Rutgers.
Now the Star-Ledger has reported that when Hermann was a volleyball coach at Tennessee that all 15 players in the program rebelled and told university administrators that she ran the program with an iron hand through intimidation and abusive behavior.
The players reportedly sent a letter to administrators, claiming that Hermann called them “whores, alcoholics and learning disabled.” The players wrote that “it has been unanimously decided that this is an irreconcilable issue.” Hermann reportedly gathered the team together and told them she decided to no longer coach them.
Hermann, an assistant athletic director at Louisville for the last 11 years, was hired two weeks ago to replace Tim Pernetti, who lost his job at Rutgers in the fallout of Rice’s removal as coach. Hermann, 49, is set to take over the athletic department June 17, when she would become Rutgers’ first female athletic director and only the third at the 124 major colleges in the United State that play football.
In recent interviews, Hermann said, “In my opinion, [Rutgers] can’t go one inch forward until we have healed from the inside out. All of us need to buy into, ‘Here’s what we stand for.’ And if we don’t stand for that, you can’t stay. No one can stay.”
When the Star-Ledger confronted Hermann with the allegations of abusive behavior, she denied knowledge of the letter to Tennessee officials or that she had acted in such a manner.