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Mike Rice Named Rutgers University Head Men's Basketball Coach
  • Posted on May 06, 2010 3:21:01 PM
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  • Mike Rice
    Tom Ciszek/NJSportsPhoto

    > Press Conference Transcript

    PISCATAWAY, N.J. (May 6, 2010) - Mike Rice, who compiled a 73-31 (.702) record as head coach at Robert Morris University en route to three consecutive post-season appearances and a pair of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament berths, was today named the head men’s basketball coach at Rutgers University by Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Tim Pernetti. Rice becomes the 17th head coach in the history of the Rutgers men’s basketball program.

    “We are thrilled to welcome Mike, Kerry, Michael and Katie Rice to the Rutgers family,” said Pernetti. “Mike has proven to be an excellent head coach with a contagious energy and an unrivaled work ethic. Most of all, Mike shares our vision of building a championship basketball program at Rutgers that will bring excitement and pride to the University, the great state of New Jersey and the tri-state area.”

    “I’m so excited and appreciative of the opportunity and challenge that lie ahead of us here at Rutgers University,” said Rice. “The University has so much to offer - academics, location, tradition and a passionate fan base. I have seen firsthand the incredible passion that the Garden State and the metropolitan area has for basketball. Our team will have an identity that matches that passion and intensity each and every day. We will build a program that everyone in the Rutgers family can be proud of.”

    Rice has signed a five-year contract through the 2014-15 season that guarantees an average annual compensation of $650,000 per year.

    A native of Pittsburgh, Pa. and a graduate of Fordham University in New York, Rice has made 10 NCAA or NIT appearances as either a head or assistant coach during his 16-year tenure in the collegiate coaching ranks.

    Rice directed Robert Morris to first place, regular season finishes in each of his three seasons (2007-08 to 2009-10) and captured back-to-back Northeast Conference Tournament championships in 2009 and 2010. He was named the NABC District Coach of the Year, as well as NEC Jim Phelan Coach of the Year, in both 2008 and 2009. A total of 17 school records were either tied or broken under Rice’s watch, including victories (26 in 2007-08), NEC wins (16 in 2007-08) and consecutive victories (14 in 2007-08). RMU also posted 15 straight NEC road wins over the course of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons, a conference record.

    This past season, Rice directed Robert Morris to a 23-12 (15-3 NEC) record. The Colonials’ season came to a close in a hard-fought, 73-70, overtime loss to No. 2-seeded Villanova in an NCAA opening round contest in Providence, R.I. In 2008-09, RMU posted a 24-11 (15-3 NEC) mark and lost 77-62 to No. 2-seeded and eventual national finalist Michigan State in Minneapolis, Minn. In 2007-08, the Colonials had a 26-8 (16-2 NEC) record and concluded its campaign with an 87-81 NIT loss to No. 1-seeded Syracuse at the Carrier Dome.

    Prior to assuming the reins at RMU, Rice served as an assistant and primary recruiter at the University of Pittsburgh under head coach Jamie Dixon in 2006-07. He helped the Panthers to a second-place regular season finish and a spot in the BIG EAST Championship final before the team advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Pitt finished with an overall record of 29-8 and Rice was instrumental in attracting a 2007-08 recruiting class that was ranked 16th by Scouts, Inc. and 12th by Hoop Scoop. 

    From 2004 to 2006, Rice was an assistant under head coach Phil Martelli at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa. He helped the Hawks to a combined record of 43-26 (.623) and a pair of NIT bids. In 2004-05, Saint Joseph’s finished with a 24-12 record and advanced to the NIT final.

    Rice began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater following his graduation, before serving as an assistant coach at Marquette (1994-97), Niagara (1997-98) and Chicago State (1998-2001). At Marquette, Rice was instrumental in helping the Golden Eagles to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 1996 and 1997. Marquette claimed the 1997 Conference USA Tournament championship and finished as the NIT runner-up in 1995.

    From 2001 to 2004, Rice worked with the Hoop Group in Neptune, N.J., serving as director of prestigious Eastern Invitational Basketball Camp.

    A 1991 graduate of Fordham with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communications, Rice was a three-year starter for the Rams at guard. He appeared in 117 career games, serving as captain of the 1990-91 squad that posted 25-8 record and earned an NIT berth. Rice’s 152 assists during his senior campaign rank as the sixth highest single-season output in school history. 

    Rice attended Boardman (Ohio) High School, where he earned three varsity letters in basketball. A three-year starter, he was a two-time All-Northeast Ohio honoree and two-time Steel Valley All-Conference selection.

    Rice and his wife Kerry are the proud parents of two children, son Michael (12) and daughter Katie (10). From an athletic family, Rice’s mother, Kathy, played basketball at Duquesne, while his sisters, Susan and Stephanie, both played tennis at Syracuse. His father, Mike Rice Sr., served as head men’s basketball coach at both Duquesne (1979-82) and Youngstown State (1982-87) and currently works as the television color commentator for the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers. 

    The Rice File

    2010-Present: Head Coach, Rutgers University (Piscataway, N.J.)
    2007-2010: Head Coach, Robert Morris University (Moon Township, Pa.)
    2006-2007: Assistant Coach, University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
    2004-2006: Assistant Coach, St. Joseph’s University (Philadelphia, Pa.)
    2001-2004: The Hoop Group (Neptune, N.J.)
    1998-2001: Assistant Coach, Chicago State University (Chicago, Ill.)
    1997-1998: Assistant Coach, Niagara University (Niagara, N.Y.)
    1994-1997: Assistant Coach, Marquette University (Milwaukee, Wisc.)
    1991-1994: Assistant Coach, Fordham University (Bronx, N.Y.)

    Season Overall Pct. NEC Pct. Finish NEC Tournament Postseason
    2007-08 26-8 .765 16-2 .889 1st Semifinals NIT
    2008-09 24-11 .686 15-3 .833 1st Champions NCAA
    2009-10 23-12 .657 15-3 .833 T-1st Champions NCAA
    Totals 73-31 .702 46-8 .852 --- --- ---

    Birth Date: February 13, 1969 in Pittsburgh, Pa.
    High School: Boardman (Ohio)
    College: Fordham University; B.A. Communications, 1991
    Wife: Kerry
    Children: Michael (12) and Katie (10)

    As a head coach (3): NCAA (Robert Morris 2010 and 2009)
    NIT (Robert Morris 2008)
    As an assistant coach (7): NCAA (Pittsburgh 2007; Marquette 1997 and 1996; Fordham 1992)
    NIT (St. Joseph’s 2006 and 2005; Marquette 1995)
    As a player (3): NIT (Fordham 1991, 1990, 1988)

    “Mike Rice has done a great job as head basketball coach at Robert Morris University. We are extremely proud of Mike and for all of our former assistants who have gone on to further their careers. Because of his family background, he has great passion for the game of basketball. He is a hard worker and has a great family. He is intense, he lives the game and he loves the game.”
    - Jamie Dixon, Head Coach, University of Pittsburgh

    "Tim Pernetti and Rutgers University are to be applauded for the decision to hire Mike Rice as the next basketball coach at the University. Mike has a passion and work ethic second to none. I'm certain that he will energize the passionate fan base at Rutgers and that the RAC will be jumping again."
    - Phil Martelli, Head Coach, Saint Joseph's University

    "Coach Rice is one of the most energetic coaches you're going to find. He demands accountability and a sense of urgency from everyone associated with his program. His attention to detail and focus on defense is one of the main reasons for the success we've had at Robert Morris over the last three years, and it's something he'll continue to focus on throughout his career."
    - Craig Coleman, M.D., Director of Athletics, Robert Morris University

    "Mike Rice is one of the sharp young coaches on today's college basketball landscape. He is bright, energetic, passionate, and he has a great feel for the game. I'm not at all surprised by Mike's fast rise in the coaching profession. He's a star."
    - Jay Bilas, ESPN Basketball Analyst

    “Mike has a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy. He has to be patient, but his energy and enthusiasm should become contagious to everyone in the basketball family at Rutgers.”
    - Dick Vitale, ESPN Basketball Analyst

    “I have known Mike for a long time. He has great genes for the game. He’s competitive as heck, just like his dad. He’s all business during the game and he understands what the kids need after the game and during the week.”
    - Bill Raftery, CBS/ESPN Basketball Analyst

    “I think Mike is a good, young basketball coach who is getting an opportunity to advance to the highest level of college basketball at the right time in his career. He has proven that he can take a little and make a lot out of it. It’s been very, very apparent in the NCAA Tournament when his team has gone out and competed against the powers of college basketball. I think that Rutgers got the right man for job. You know he is going to put his whole heart into it.”
    - Gus Johnson, CBS Sports announcer

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