Rutgers' New Scandal-Slayer Dogged by ... Scandal

Julie Hermann quit Tenn. coaching job after players alleged abuse

By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff

Posted May 26, 2013 1:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – In trying to put the Mike Rice scandal firmly behind it, Rutgers has opened up a whole new can of abuse allegations: As the Star-Ledger reports, new athletic director Julie Hermann quit her job as volleyball coach at the University of Tennessee 16 years ago, after her players wrote a letter complaining that the "mental cruelty" she doled out was "unbearable." "It has been unanimously decided that this is an irreconcilable issue," wrote all 15 players in the letter, which said Hermann called them "whores, alcoholics, and learning disabled." Hermann, upon reading the letter at the time, told her players, "I choose not to coach you guys."

Hermann says she doesn't remember the letter, but it's not the only cloud hanging over her head: A 1997 jury verdict gave $150,000 to an assistant coach who said Hermann fired her when she got pregnant. The Star-Ledger obtained video from the assistant's wedding, in which Hermann indicates a baby would be problematic. Hermann says the assistant was fired for underperforming. One of Hermann's former supervisors dismisses the reports, saying, "I've never seen anything but impeccable behavior. I knew things didn't end well (at Tennessee), but that happens to a lot of coaches at a lot of places." The AP notes that Hermann, for her part, vowed when Rutgers hired her that "it is a new day. It is already fixed." Click for the Star-Ledger's full report on the abuse allegations.

Julie Hermann listens as Rutgers President Robert Barchi announces Hermann as athletic director, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Piscataway, NJ.
Julie Hermann listens as Rutgers President Robert Barchi announces Hermann as athletic director, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, in Piscataway, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
Julie Hermann is introduced as athletic director in Piscataway, NJ, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, succeeding Tim Pernetti, who resigned last month in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal.
Julie Hermann is introduced as athletic director in Piscataway, NJ, Wednesday, May 15, 2013, succeeding Tim Pernetti, who resigned last month in the wake of the Mike Rice scandal.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
In this Feb. 9, 2013, file photo, former Rutgers coach Mike Rice shouts from the sidelines. Rice stepped down over allegations of abuse.
In this Feb. 9, 2013, file photo, former Rutgers coach Mike Rice shouts from the sidelines. Rice stepped down over allegations of abuse.   (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)
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Video of Julie Hermann at the news conference announcing her as Rutgers' new athletic director, and at the wedding of a former assistant coach.   (NJ Star-Ledger)

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