PISCATAWAY, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rutgers has fired football coach Kyle Flood and athletic director Julie Hermann, university President Robert Barchi announced Sunday.
Pat Hobbs, a dean emeritus of Seton Hall University School of Law and the Pirates’ former interim athletic director in 2010, has been hired to replace Hermann, Barchi said.
The Scarlet Knights just finished a 4-8 season that was a mess on and off the field. Flood was suspended for three games for making inappropriate contact with a professor regarding a player’s academics. Also, seven players were arrested since August, though charges were dropped against star receiver Leontee Carroo.
“The whole string of robberies that was kind of ridiculous it was really surprising to me then,” Rutgers student Steffany Conyers told WLNY 10/55’s Mark Morgan. “When I heard about him trying to mess with the grading of the football players, I thought that was really unfair. If you’re a coach you should be showing some type of integrity on and off the field.”
In one incident, several Rutgers players and two former students attacked and broke the jaw of a 19-year-old male student, investigators said.
Flood is 27-24 in four seasons at Rutgers, including bowl appearances in his first three. He was given a two-year contract extension at the beginning of the 2014 season that runs through the 2018 season and made $1.26 million this year, according to USA Today’s coaches’ salary database. Among Big Ten coaches, only Illinois’ Bill Cubit, who was interim coach until getting a two-year deal on Saturday, made less.
“Kyle Flood has been a loyal and dedicated member of our community for more than a decade and our head football coach for four seasons, during which his teams won 26 games and played in three bowl games,” Barchi said in a statement. “However, our continued struggles on the field combined with several off the field issues have convinced me that we need new leadership of our football program.”
Hermann took over in 2013 after the Mike Rice scandal led to Tim Pernetti’s firing. Hermann’s contract runs through the 2017-18 school year.
Hermann came from Louisville, where she was an associate AD and walked into reeling athletic department at Rutgers after Rice was fired for physically and verbally abusing his players. Pernetti, the AD who helped land Rutgers a spot in the Big Ten, was let go for only suspending Rice when a video of Rice’s actions was first brought to him.
But Hermann brought her own baggage. She had been accused of verbally abusing players when she was volleyball coach at Tennessee and was named in a discrimination lawsuit while at Tennessee.
Her first few months were tumultuous and she never seemed to gain the full trust of the administration. When Flood was under investigation in August and ultimately suspended, Hermann made no public comments on the situation beyond prepared statements.
Hermann met with Rutgers University President Rob Barchi at his home Sunday morning. The meeting lasted 11 minutes.
According to a NJ.com report, which cited people familiar with the situation, Hermann’s oversight of the football program was a major reason for her ouster.
“Julie came to Rutgers in 2013, at a time when the program was in turmoil, with a vision of where she could take our Athletics Program,” Barchi said. “I believe, however, at this point, when major changes are being made in our football program, we need a fresh start. Having reached that conclusion this past week, it would not have been fair to Julie, to Rutgers and our student athletes, or to potential football coaching candidates, for her to continue in her role.”
Flood was hired in a rush after former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano left to become coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January 2012. Flood, a former assistant under Schiano, came up a victory short of taking Rutgers to its first Big East Conference title in 2012 and finished 9-4.
The Scarlet Knights slipped to 6-7 the next season, but went a surprising 8-4 last year in their first season in the Big Ten.
The season has been a wreck.
Flood was suspended Sept. 16 and fined $50,000 after the university’s investigation determined he knowingly broke rules regarding contact between coaches and professors when he asked to meet with a professor for a player who was unable to become academically eligible in summer school.
Flood missed games against Penn State, Kansas and Michigan State. When he returned the team was 2-3. Rutgers beat Indiana 55-52 in his first game back but only won one more game the rest of the away, against Army.
The season ended Saturday with a brutal loss to Maryland. The Scarlet Knights blew a 31-13 halftme lead and lost 46-41 at home to finish 1-7 in the Big Ten and last in the East Division.
Barchi said he had been searching for an interim athletic director, but in doing so, “it was clear to all of us that Pat had the attributes required for our next Director of Athletics.” Hobbs was offered the job permanently and accepted.
Gov. Chris Christie released a statement praising Rutgers’ decision to hire Hobbs as athletic director.
“I’ve known Dean Hobbs for many years and he has always been a person of great character and judgment, as well as an effective leader and manager,” the governor said. “I can think of few people better suited to step into the role of Athletic Director. Rutgers is fortunate to have him and I congratulate him on his selection.”
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