Reports of Rice coaching girls stir controversy

Reports of Rice coaching girls stir controversy

Published Apr. 14, 2013 7:22 p.m. ET

Less than two weeks after being fired as men's basketball coach by Rutgers when videotapes surfaced of him physically and verbally abusing players, Mike Rice reportedly is coaching his 12-year-old daughter's AAU team in New Jersey. However, as the story developed on Sunday, accounts of his treatment of players and officials varied greatly, with parents of the players reportedly supporting Rice.

The story first broke when blogger Brian Geltzeiler tweeted that Rice was coaching the team in Holmdel, NJ, and was verbally abusing both players and officials. "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," one of the tweets read. Another tweet referred to Rice as "a mad man," and still one more said that Rice told one 12-year-old girl, "I can't even look at you."

However, shortly after Deadspin posted a story that was based on the tweets and added that Rice was "still acting f***ing insane," reported that while Rice indeed has been coaching his daughter's team — and been doing it since his coaching days at Rutgers — parents of the players were "enraged by the tweets and the report on Deadspin."

The story on reported that a source close to the team said, "The Deadspin report is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. The team's parents are fully behind Coach Rice and his instruction of their daughters."

Rice coached at Rutgers for three seasons and was fired on April 3, a day after ESPN aired videotape from Rutgers practices which showed Rice throwing balls at players, kicking and shoving players, and yelling homophobic slurs at them. The scandal also cost the jobs of assistant coach Jimmy Martelli and athletic director Tim Pernetti, both of whom resigned. Pernetti was roundly criticized for only suspending Rice three games and fining him when first seeing the video in December.