Rutgers Misidentifies Basketball Coach Eddie Jordan as Graduate

Rutgers University acknowledged it erred in saying new men’s basketball coach Eddie Jordan was a 1977 health and physical education graduate of the school.

Jordan, 58, who was hired April 23 to replace the fired Mike Rice, earned 103 credits from Rutgers between 1973 and 1985, said the registrar’s office, according to ESPN., which first reported the discrepancy, said the normal threshold for a degree is 110.

“I went back to Rutgers in 1984-85 as a voluntary assistant to complete my studies,” Jordan said, according to ESPN. “I didn’t walk. I didn’t get a diploma because I wasn’t registered right. That’s it. I was 28 and didn’t take care of my business. It was never an issue.”

Neither Rutgers nor the National Collegiate Athletic Association requires a head coach to hold a bachelor’s degree, the school said yesterday in a statement.

Jordan played point guard for the Scarlet Knights from 1973-77 and was on the team the last time the school reached the NCAA Final Four in 1976. He is the school’s career leader in assists (585) and steals (220).

“His athletic skills and leadership and his professional accomplishments have been a source of pride for Rutgers for more than three decades,” the school said in a statement on the athletic department website. “We are excited to have him as our men’s basketball coach, and we look forward to many winning seasons.”

Rice Fired

Rice was dismissed April 3, a day after video broadcast on ESPN showed him pushing players, hurling balls at them and yelling expletive-laden homophobic insults during team practices.

His dismissal came three months after being fined $50,000 and suspended for three games for his behavior toward players during team practices from 2010-12.

Jordan’s appointment followed two days of talks with school officials including President Robert Barchi, the Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey, reported April 14. Barchi resisted pressure from professors and state politicians to step down for his part in the Rice scandal.

Jordan secured his first head-coaching role in the National Basketball Association in March 1997 and went 33-64 over two seasons before being fired by the Sacramento Kings.

Losing Seasons

Following four seasons as an assistant with the New Jersey Nets, Jordan in 2003 took charge of the Washington Wizards and led the team to the playoffs four times before being fired in his sixth season with a 197-224 mark. He spent the 2009-10 season with the Philadelphia 76ers, when they went 27-55, and joined the Los Angeles Lakers as an assistant coach in 2012.

Jordan also had stints as an assistant coach at Rutgers, Boston College and Old Dominion. He was an assistant to Bob Wenzel when Rutgers last visited the NCAA tournament in 1991.

Jordan takes over a program that had a 15-16 record last season and hasn’t had a winning season since it went 19-14 in 2005-06. The Scarlet Knights have had losing records in 17 of the past 23 seasons.

Now in the Big Ten conference, the Scarlet Knights will face sports powerhouses such as Ohio State University and the University of Nebraska. At the same time, the switch will bring Rutgers a share of Big Ten revenue -- $265 million in 2010 -- that may help to reduce the annual payment the university doles out to the athletic department.

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