Monday, April 19, 2010
Source: Rutgers, Hill settle for $850K
ESPN.com news services
NEWARK, N.J. -- After nearly two weeks of negotiations, Fred Hill has accepted a settlement and resigned as Rutgers basketball coach.
Athletic director Tim Pernetti refused Monday night to disclose the amount of the settlement that averted a probable lawsuit by Hill.
A source told ESPN.com's Dana O'Neil that the settlement was worth $850,000 plus incentives.
Rutgers had threatened to fire Hill because of a number of issues, including some related to his involvement in an incident at a Scarlet Knights' baseball game against Pittsburgh on April 1.
The university offered to buy out the remaining three years on Hill's contract for $600,000. Hill, who was due $1.9 million, rejected the offer, and neither side budged for more than a week.
Hill, 51, was not immediately available for comment.
Pernetti said very little about the separation in a conference call Monday evening, refusing to disclose exactly what led him to ask for Hill's resignation, why it took so long to reach an agreement and what will be his criteria in the search for a new coach, which will begin immediately.
"I have been very focused on the business at hand and now I will shift my focus 100 percent to the search," Pernetti said, adding that is all he will work on until it is completed.
The short list apparently includes recently fired Philadelphia 76ers coach and former Rutgers star Eddie Jordan, former Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien, and current ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, a former St. John's coach.
"This is a very important time for our men's basketball program," said Pernetti, who spoke to members of the basketball team Monday afternoon.
Whoever gets the job will have missed most of the recruiting period.
"There is not a whole lot we can do about that," Pernetti said. "Given the position we are in, we are going to do the best we can to keep the guys coming in and have been committed for some time. That's where our focus is, and beyond that, if there are opportunities beyond those guys, we'll do the best we can to make sure we have capable bodies on the team next year."
Hill was one of the lowest-paid coaches in the Big East with an annual salary of roughly $600,000. Pernetti said Rugters was prepared to make an investment in the program in hiring a new coach.
The basketball program has had a hectic month.
Pernetti told Hill on March 17 that he would be given another year to turn around the program that had posted a 47-77 mark in his first four seasons, including a 13-57 record in the Big East.
Hill, however, got in trouble on April 1 after an incident in which he yelled at Pittsburgh baseball coaches following a game at Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights' baseball team is coached by Hill's father.
Pernetti told Hill not to attend any more games between the teams that week, but Hill disobeyed the instructions.
Pernetti eventually investigated the incident and told Hill on April 8 that he would not be back as coach. At the time, the university told Hill the reasons for his dismissal would include insubordination and failure to communicate critical program details.
Darren Savino will serve as head coach on an interim basis until a new coach is found.
"I would like to thank Freddie for his hard work and service to Rutgers," Pernetti said. "We appreciate his efforts on the behalf of our student-athletes and wish him the very best in his future endeavors."
Guard Mike Rosario, the Scarlet Knights' leading scorer the past two seasons, decided over the weekend that he is transferring to Florida for his final two seasons.
Rutgers posted a 15-17 mark this past season, including a 5-13 record in league play.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.