About seven months after being fired at Rutgers, former Robert Morris coach Mike Rice has found employment, as he is listed as the director of facilities and program services for the Hoop Group, a company which organizes youth basketball camps, high school exposure camps and grassroots tournaments.
The hiring presents something of a bookend for Rice's well-documented, self-induced saga that saw him lose his job as the Scarlet Knights' head coach after video surfaced of him verbally and physically abusing players.
In an interview with SNY's Adam Zagoria, Hoop Group president Rob Kennedy said Rice will both work with kids and perform certain administrative duties as he works his way back up the proverbial ladder:
"Mike has acknowledged his mistakes and worked hard to make positive changes," Kennedy said. "He has more passion and love of the game than any coach I have ever been around. I'm happy Mike is able to share that energy with our Hoop Group participants."
Though his actions at Rutgers were not found to be emblematic of his behavior while at Robert Morris, a former player told the Post-Gazette last April that Rice used homophobic slurs against players, a claim which was later confirmed by an internal university investigation.
Rice went 73-31 in his three years in Moon Township, taking the Colonials to the NCAA tournament twice. However, he struggled at Rutgers, well before the controversy came to light, going 44-51 and never leading the program past 11th place in the Big East.
An interesting angle to the story is the continued ties the Robert Morris program has to the Hoop Group. Andy Toole worked for it for a couple of years after college and assistant coach Joe Gallo is also a former employee. Rice was previously associated with the Neptune, N.J.-based group, serving as the director of its Eastern Invitational Basketball Camp from 2001 to 2004.