Coaches reflect on Rice video, defend profession

first_imgATLANTA — The video shocked the entire country and left mouths agape both inside and out of the basketball community.Here was Mike Rice, then the head coach at Rutgers, hurling basketballs at the feet, head and midsection of his players in practice. Here was Mike Rice, a coach known for his fiery passion, defying all previous impressions of his persona by hurling homophobic slurs at his players. Here was Mike Rice shoving, grabbing and kicking his players in a shockingly abusive display.Rice was relieved of his duties as Rutgers head coach Wednesday, but the jarring nature of the practice video, which was obtained and aired by ESPN, continued to ripple through the sport a day later. All four head coaches of the teams participating in this weekend’s Final Four were questioned about the video during the media session on Thursday, and all four defended their profession by calling Rice’s behavior an isolated incident.“I absolutely do not believe there’s that coaching style going on. I do not,” said Syracuse head coach Boeheim. “I’ll go out where you probably shouldn’t go: I don’t think there’s a coach in the country that does that.”Boeheim’s sentiment was repeated through the press conferences Thursday in the Georgia Dome, as fellow coaches Rick Pitino, John Beilein and Gregg Marshall all opined on the situation.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBoeheim, who admitted to using profanity in practice when getting on his players, said he could not watch the full video. Rice’s aggression, rage and violence were too much.“I watched 10 seconds of the video,” Boeheim said. “I couldn’t watch it, honestly. I couldn’t watch it anymore.”Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti suspended Rice for three games in December for an unspecified violation of athletic department policy. It was not until ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” an investigative journalism program, obtained practice footage that the severity of Rice’s violation became clear.Beilein, the head coach at Michigan, said the entire coaching community is disappointed with how the incident transpired. There are certain lines you cannot cross with student-athletes, he said, and Rice crossed several of them.“Those incidents are uncalled for,” Beilein said, “and I’m sure that Mike regrets it.”Whether the video of Rice’s behavior affects the coaching profession as a whole is yet to be seen, but Boeheim feels that it will “give you pause about what you’re doing.”Boeheim admitted to having thrown basketballs out of frustration during his own practices. The target, though, was always the bleachers. Never his players.He lightened the mood in typical Boeheim fashion with a quip about hurting himself while taking out his frustration in that particular manner, but the severity of the situation was evident throughout his comments.His words ranged from passionate — “I literally could not watch that video” — to insightful — “I think the tragedy is his team would have played exactly the same or better if he hadn’t done any of that” — and reflected his genuine bewilderment at the situation.Pitino, whose Louisville team is the No. 1-overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, said he feels badly for Rice and his family, who will have to endure the “embarrassment” that comes along with the video.But like his colleagues, Pitino referred to the situation as an isolated incident. As a head coach in the NBA, Pitino said he would attend one college practice in each of the cities his team traveled to. Not once did he see such behavior from a head coach.“I’ve seen some coaches that may use some rough language,” Pitino said. “But that just doesn’t go on. It’s just an aberration that just doesn’t go on in college basketball.”Similar to Rice, Marshall is known for his passion and intensity along the Wichita State sideline. His halftime speech against Ohio State stressed that his team “play angry” to show it never should have been overlooked coming out of the Missouri Valley Conference. The result was 70-66 victory and a trip to the Final Four.On Thursday, Marshall said he feels badly for both Rice and the players. Intensity was replaced with insanity, and Marshall was the fourth coach in a row to acknowledge a line was crossed.“I feel really bad for those young men,” Marshall said. “I hope it didn’t impact any of them negatively to the point where they weren’t able to be good basketball players and finish their careers.“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people that will suffer now, including Rutgers University and the state of New Jersey.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Related Stories Long and winding road: Beilein arriving at Final Four stage with decades of help, friendship from BoeheimNot just yet: Boeheim reiterates he doesn’t plan on retiringTheir game: Syracuse entered the 2002-03 season inexperienced, unranked but they ended it national championsBuild up: McGary develops from raw talent into focal point of Michigan offensecenter_img Published on April 4, 2013 at 3:18 pm Contact Michael: [email protected] | @Michael_Cohen13last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *