Rutgers fired Mike Rice after disturbing video leaked of him berating and attacking his players, and Lawrence Frank has been mentioned as a possible replacement. Adrian Wojnarowski and Pat Forde of Yahoo! Sports:
Another strong candidate for the Rutgers job could be Detroit Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, sources told Yahoo! Sports. Pernetti expressed interest with Frank before the hiring of Rice four years ago, but he decided to stay on the NBA track. Frank had significant success as the coach of the New Jersey Nets for six-plus seasons, reaching the Eastern Conference semifinals three times. He also has a collegiate background as an assistant with Marquette and Tennessee.
What’s more, Frank could be open to the return to New Jersey, where his wife, Susan, has been ill. He left the Pistons for six games to be with her and his two children during the season.
"I’m the coach of the Pistons," Frank said before they faced the Celtics on Wednesday night. "I haven’t heard from anyone.
"Like I told you, I’m very happy as the coach of the Pistons. I haven’t been contacted by anyone, and there’s nothing more to say."
The possibly irrelevant: Frank might be stretching the truth when he says he wasn’t contacted. In these situations, schools typically contact the agent, so the coach has plausible deniability.
The ideally irrelevant: Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti’s previous interest in Frank shouldn’t matter, because Pernetti shouldn’t be hiring Rutgers’ next coach. Like Rice, Pernetti should be fired. Pernetti’s comments after the video became public – “My biggest concern as the AD is that I am always trying to protect the interests and reputation of the university” – were disgusting. A man with those priorities should not be charged with the welfare of Rutgers’ athletes. The university is nothing without the people who comprise it, and Pernetti’s focus should be on them, not some corporate-type entity.
The possibly relevant: Frank has shown a desire to spend time in New Jersey to be with his wife, and Rutgers is in New Jersey. Frank hasn’t made details of his wife’s illness public, so it’s unknown how important spending time in that area is to him at this point.
The ideally relevant: Frank is probably closer to end of his Pistons tenure than the start. This could be a convenient way for Frank and the Pistons to part on amicable terms. Frank would get a soft landing, and the Pistons would, in theory, save money on the final year of Frank’s contract.
Tags: Lawrence Frank