Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, March 10, 2016
Rutgers has opted to turn the page on its basketball program and fire Eddie Jordan today, according to the school.
The former Scarlet Knights legend inherited a tough situation from previous head coach Mike Rice, but in three seasons Jordan failed to make a tangible impact from wins and losses standpoint after an illustrious playing career at Rutgers that included a trip to the 1976 Final Four.
Rutgers ended a tough 2015-16 season on Wednesday night with a loss to Nebraska in the Big Ten tourney. That capped a 7-25 season that included a 1-17 mark in the Big Ten, marking the program?s lowest winning percentage since 1956. How bad was it? Rutgers endured a school-record 17-game losing streak at one point before winning its regular-season finale and suffered 32 consecutive Big Ten defeats dating back to last season.
Jordan will leave his school with a 29-67 record and a 3-33 mark in the Big Ten-its first two years in the league–as Rutgers continues to look for its first NCAA bid since 1991. The program hasn?t won an NCAA game since 1983.
What?s next for Rutgers, which also has a new A.D. in Pat Hobbs and new football coach in Chris Ash?
Early speculation centers on Dan Hurley, a popular name in New Jersey who rebuilt Wagner and Rhode Island. Hobbs was A.D. at Seton Hall before landing the RU job in November. And his last men?s basketball coaching search netted Kevin Willard, who is enjoying a breakthrough campaign of 22-8 in his sixth season with the Pirates.
Whoever takes over will inherit a better program than Rice left, but much still needs to be done. The facilities need to be upgradeded-as well as the talent. Jordan had NBA pedigree as a player and head coach, but he came up short in procuring talent and developing defensive principles. This year?s team was impacted by injuries, which comprised the roster.
?But every day, they came to work,? Jordan said after last night?s loss to Nebraska. ?They're good students. They're graduating. And I'm proud of them. I'm proud of how we behaved through the season. I'm proud of how we represented the Rutgers University. And the W?s and L?s do not measure what these players and young men have gone through and what they have achieved.?
Someone new will get to try to make Rutgers relevant in basketball. The potential is there, with the school sitting in a fertile recruiting area. With the right hire and better facilities, the Scarlet Knights could become a factor in the Big Ten.