Jordan, University agree on five-year contract to make former Scarlet Knight 18th head coach in program history
Eddie Jordan has agreed in terms with the University to become the Rutgers men’s basketball program’s next head coach.
The Newark Star-Ledger reported Rutgers and Jordan agreed on a five-year deal worth roughly $6.25 million to make him the 18th head coach in team history.
Though the deal is reportedly finished, the hire may not become official until Tuesday, when the Rutgers Board of Governors meets to approve the coaching decision.
Jordan, 58, is currently an assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers and has served as head coach in the NBA for the Sacramento Kings, Washington Wizards and Philadelphia 76ers. Jordan played for the Scarlet Knights from 1973-76, when he starred on the 1976 team that made it to the Final Four.
It was also reported Jordan will most likely retain Rutgers’ current interim head coach David Cox and assistant Van Macon on the staff.
St. Anthony High School (N.J.) head men’s basketball coach and high school basketball legend Bob Hurley felt keeping both Cox and Macon in the fold was essential for the short-term success of the program.
“I think it’s good hire,” Hurley said. “But I think what he did right away as far as keeping David Cox and Van Macon, I think keeping the two coaches, it adds a little stability to a situation with a coach hasn’t coached in college for a long time.”
Hurley said Cox and Macon would provide a comfort factor for the remaining players on the roster, though he was hesitant to say how many would end up staying because of the hire.
Five players from this year’s roster have either transferred or requested a waiver to attend another school since former head coach Mike Rice was fired April 3 after video leaked to ESPN showed him throwing basketballs, cursing and pushing his players during team practices.
Junior guard Jerome Seagears received his transfer waiver from the University, but senior guard Mike Poole and junior guard Eli Carter have yet to see if their requests go through.
Hurley said he did not speak with either Carter or junior guard Myles Mack — both played for Hurley at St. Anthony — since the announcing of Jordan’s hire, though he said his sister spoke with Mack’s mother in recent days.
Not including Seagears, Poole and Carter, the Knights have just five scholarship players — Mack, junior forwards Derrick Randall, Kadeem Jack, Greg Lewis and senior forward Wally Judge — who have not publicly announced their intent to transfer. Rutgers also has three walk-ons — sophomore guards Logan Kelley, Jalen Hyde and Stephen Zurich.
Though the University hired a head coach before finding a replacement for former Athletic Director Tim Pernetti — the general practice is to find an athletic director first and then allow him to make coaching decisions — Hurley said hiring a coach first was the right decision.
“They had to. If they waited and went through the process, by the time they did there might be no kids left,” Hurley said. “While these kids are sitting there insecure, you can’t think that people aren’t reaching out to them to get them interested in other schools.”
Jordan will bring his ‘Princeton offense’ to the program, a difference from the high-tempo, up-and-down play Rice ran.
Hurley said Jordan will have to incorporate his style with the strengths of whatever players he can retain on the roster.
“They’ll certainly try to play a style that will be one the players will like, but it also has to fit the strengths of the players,” he said. “He’s going to go over a lot of film and figure out what he’s going to do with whoever stays.”
For Jordan, it will be his first head-coaching job since 2010, but more importantly, his first time as a college coach since 1988 under former Rutgers head coach Bob Wenzel.
“Eddie just needs to get the cobwebs off,” Hurley said. “He’s been in the world of drafting, so he has to get in the world of schmoozing. He’s got to do what I can’t do. He has to start texting.”