Ex-Rutgers Coach Mike Rice Apologizes for His Mistakes: 'I've Changed'


However, unknown to Rice, his disgruntled assistant coach Erik Murdock was secretly watching hundreds of hours of video of Rice's practices, editing together a clip reel of his temper tantrums on the court. Murdock gave the tape to Rutgers officials and threatened to make it public, asking for $950,000.

In response, Rutgers suspended Rice in December 2012 for three games, with fines and lost income that amounted to $75,000. Rice was ordered to get anger management counseling, which he has voluntarily continued.

Though he agreed that he would at times lose his self-control at practices, Rice said, "two minutes after that or two minutes previous to that I'm high-fiving and cheering. It could be the same person that I did that to. I would...be chest-bumping literally two minutes later."

While he says he doesn't want to make excuses for his behavior, he believes the few minutes of videotape that went viral is not representative of his true character as a person or as a coach. Off the court, he says his players did better in school and almost every player graduated during his two-year tenure.

Months after he was suspended, the offensive footage was leaked to the media, causing a firestorm of controversy and condemnation for Rice and Rutgers, who then fired him under the pressure. Rice said the most difficult part was owning up to his family and communicating to them that this was no one's fault except his. "I don't think people realize that they're all a part of it," he said.

Since the scandal, Rice said he has also apologized to his former players.

"You know, whether it was texting, whether it was calling, whether it was, handwritten letters, whether it's email, they don't deserve this and especially the first year's team," he said. "Even though we were out-manned every single night, they really, really fought hard for meā€¦and they're almost embarrassed about that fact now. They're embarrassed about being a Rutgers basketball player."

He continued, "It's an incredible place...and it hurts, again, for me to be the reason why it's not looked upon as well as it should."

Hoping to learn from his mistakes and repair his reputation, Rice reached out to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), where he said it was a wake-up call when a girl told him that his past behavior made him no better than the bully who once made her cry.

"That was a hard lesson learned that's for sure," said Rice. "There is going to be a different message. There is going to be a different Coach Rice."

Rice also spent five weeks of therapy in Houston with former NBA player John Lucas, who runs a treatment and recovery center for athletes.

"You're not going to completely change the perception...because that's going to be who Mike Rice is, a small percentage of it," Rice said.

"And again, it's not about making excuses. It's about learning from them. It's about sharing those mistakes with other coaches, and hopefully one day, if I do want to coach again, having an opportunity...That's what it's about."

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