Robert Morris athletic director Craig Coleman will address charges of physical confrontations between players and coaches under former Colonials men’s basketball coach Mike Rice early next week, the school confirmed Friday.
In an interview with the ESPN program “Outside the Lines,” former Rutgers director of player development Eric Murdock alleged that during Rice’s time at Robert Morris, there were “five coaches versus player brawls in practice,” information Murdock said came from Rice and former assistant coach Jimmy Martelli. Rice was fired as the Scarlet Knights coach Wednesday for physically and verbally abusing players, while Martelli resigned Thursday.
A Robert Morris official said that Coleman’s address will likely come Monday or Tuesday and in the meantime, the university is conducting an internal investigation into Murdock’s claims. Coleman released a statement Tuesday, noting that Rice’s behavior in the graphic practice interview was “not indicative” of his time at Robert Morris.
Rice coached the Colonials for three seasons, compiling a 73-31 record and two NCAA tournament appearances before accepting the same position at Rutgers after the 2009-10 season.
Four former Robert Morris players told the Post-Gazette Wednesday that the practice footage of Rice was not indicative of his practices with the Colonials.
“Never, not at all,” former Robert Morris guard Jimmy Langhurst said in a phone interview Wednesday when asked if Rice’s actions mirrored those of his time with the Colonials. “I was surprised.”
Several former players also took to Twitter Friday to refute Murdock's claim.
"never did we have brawls we argued with our coaches because there was intensity from both sides we had player/player brawls," former Robert Morris guard Jeremy Chappell tweeted.
Added Chappell: "at the end of the day we would argue and fight and 5 minutes later sit right next to each other at the same dinner table."