Rutgers new AD involved in controversy - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Rutgers new AD involved in controversy

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Newly hired Rutgers University Athletic Director Julie Hermann was hired less than two weeks ago to clean up the athletic department after the university fired its men's basketball coach and accepted the resignation of former athletic director in April.

The men's basketball coach accused of being abusive to players, the athletic director, of turning a blind eye.

Now accusations have surfaced against the university's new hire.

Rutgers University hopes that when Hermann takes over the athletic program next month, the hope is that she'll improve the department's image. Now, after questions have emerged about her own past, some are wondering whether she's the right person for the job.

The shocking video of former Rutgers University men's basketball coach Mike Rice physically and verbally abusing his players upended the university's athletic department earlier this year –- after it surfaced.

Rice was fired, and soon after, Athletic Director Tim Pernetti resigned.

49-year-old Julie Herman was brought in to right the ship.

"That will never happen again on this prestigious campus," said Herman at her press conference on May 15th.

But now Hermann is facing scrutiny about her own background amidst a report in the Star-Ledger that she quit as coach of the University of Tennessee's women's volleyball coach 16 years ago, after her players complained she humiliated and intimidated them.  

The players wrote in a letter obtained by the paper: "The mental cruelty we have suffered as a team is unbearable."

"I heard about it, I don't know if that's the right move for Rutgers," said Rutgers student Mike Ruane.

Rutgers students and alumni were disappointed to hear of the allegations against Hermann, in addition to the players' complaints – it emerged that in 1997, a jury awarded $150,000 to former assistant coach who said Hermann fired her -- because she got pregnant.

A wedding video back in 1994 posted on the Star-Ledger's website shows Hermann joking that the assistant coach better not come back pregnant.

"The office and all -- it would be hard to have a baby in there."

The video would later become a key piece of evidence at trial.

 "I would think they would do a better background check because they obviously don't have the best image after all that's happened," said student Andrew Villa.

"It would be nice to choose someone who has a clean slate -- I would think," added RU alum Steve Freeman.

Hermann told the Star-Ledger she fired the assistant coach for poor performance, and said she had no recollection of the Tennessee players' letter.

Fox 5 spoke with Anne Kordes, who has known Hermann for 15 years and recently worked under her at the University of Louisville.

"It just contradicts the story that all of us at the University of Louisville know. Her management style, the way she handles people is just one full of care and concern," said Kordes.

Fox 5 contacted multiple University of Louisville officials, but haven't heard back. Meanwhile, the office of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told Fox 5 the governor will contact Rutgers University administrators this week to get more details.

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