Eddie Jordan Officially Named Rutgers Mens Basketball Coach
Eddie Jordan has officially been named the new head mens basketball coach at Rutgers University.
Speaking in front of students, faculty and Jordan's former teammates from his time as a Rutgers player between from 1973-1976 in the Barn where they played, Jordan acknowledged a "healing process" that needs to take place but believes in the talent of his current team and calls it a "wonderful challenge" ahead of him.
"We have to regain our pride and our dignity and our integrity for our university," Jordan said at a news conference that began with some in the crowd chanting "Eddie! Eddie!" when he entered. "I'm honored and proud to be part of that."
Since Mike Rice was fired as head coach, 3 players have left the program and 2 recruits have changed their mind.
Rutgers will pay Jordan a guaranteed $6.25 million over five years. The 58-year-old played for the Scarlet Knights from 1973-77 and was a member of Rutgers' Final Four team in 1976. Most recently he's been an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“Without question, Eddie Jordan is part of our basketball program’s most cherished memories—and he is here now to help us make a bright future for the Scarlet Knights,” said President Robert Barchi. “He is passionate about basketball and committed to winning, yet he also knows our university’s values and our commitment to promoting an atmosphere of respect and dignity for everyone. He is the right leader at a pivotal moment for the Rutgers men’s basketball program.
Jordan said he has been in touch with much of the team but isn't too concerned about the players leaving. "It's not just healing, not just building relationships. It's not just getting the program back, but winning is always in the equation," he said. "There's some healing that has to be done. But we have enough talent to exceed expectations."
He says NBA coaches have players have approached him about joining his staff. For the time being, however, the coaching and recruiting staff will stay in tact.
The Associated Press contributed to this report