Hermann Will Not Be Fired Over Volleyball Team Letter [VIDEO]
It appears that Rutgers University will stand by incoming Athletic Director Julie Hermann despite allegations that she displayed Mike Rice-like behavior as a volleyball coach at the University of Tennessee in 1997.
“It’s been communicated to me (by University President Barchi) that I’m the athletic director and will lead Rutgers into the Big Ten,” Hermann told ESPN on Monday. He spoke to Rutgers Board of Governors, according to Hermann, and they have offered their support.
Barchi issued a statement on Monday via the University website indicating that he is standing by his Athletic Director-to-be. “Looking at Julie’s entire record of accomplishment, which is stellar, we remain confident that we have selected an individual who will work in the best interests of all of our student athletes, our athletics teams and the university.”
Hermann also got support from Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich. “She did impeccable work for us. No one has said anything the past 15 years. She is beloved here,” he told ESPN, hinting at a “possibility” she could return to Louisville if Rutgers doesn’t work out.
Hermann, hired to clean up Rutgers’ scandal-scarred athletic program quit as Tennessee’s women’s volleyball coach 16 years ago after her players submitted a letter complaining she ruled through humiliation, fear and emotional abuse, the Star-Ledger reported on its website over the weekend.
“The mental cruelty that we as a team have suffered is unbearable,” the players wrote about Julie Hermann, hired May 15 as Rutgers’ athletic director after serving as the No. 2 athletic administrator at Louisville.
Hermann posted a statement on the Rutgers athletic department site calling the allegations of mental and verbal abuse “heartbreaking” and says that she has “tried to learn from each mistake” she has made during her 25-year career in athletics.
“I know the recently published story has caused distress. I was never notified of the reported letter outlining the concerns of some former athletes,” she wrote. “However, I am truly sorry that some were disappointed during my tenure as coach. For sure, I was an intense coach, but there is a vast difference between high intensity and abusive behavior.
Governor Chris Christie plans to speak wih Rutgers officials and promises to “ask questions.” Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak says the governor is aware of the report about Julie Hermann in the Star Ledger but wants to get more details before commenting.
State Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union) went so far as to call for the return of Tim Pernetti to his old position while former Gov. Richard Codey (D-Essex), currently a state Senator, compared the university to Comedy Central and called for President Robert Barchi to resign.
“It’s an embarrassment to the students and alumni of a great university and it’s time Mr. Barchi takes his show on the road,” Codey told the Star Ledger.