NEWARK, N.J. -- After spending two days in New Jersey talking with Rutgers about taking over as head coach of the scandal-marred basketball program, assistant coach Eddie Jordan returned to Los Angeles and got back to work preparing for the Lakers' regular-season finale.
Lakers spokesman John Black said in an email to The Associated Press that Jordan was in coaches' meetings on Monday. The 58-year-old, who led Rutgers to the Final Four in 1976, had left New Jersey earlier in the day.
Jordan has emerged as the front-runner to replace Mike Rice, who was fired less than two weeks ago after a video was released that showed him kicking and grabbing players while uttering anti-gay slurs at them in practice over the past 2½ seasons.
Jordan met with interim athletic director Carl Kirschner over the weekend, and was to have met with university president Robert Barchi.
The scandal also forced the resignations of athletic director Tim Pernetti, the university's interim chief counsel and assistant basketball coach Jimmy Martelli.
Jordan has been a head coach in the NBA with Sacramento, Washington and Philadelphia. He did not immediately return a telephone call left at his home by The AP on Monday seeking comment.
Lonnie Cooper, Jordan's agent, did not return two telephone calls left by The AP on Monday.
The university would not discuss talks with Jordan over the weekend.
"This is an important position at Rutgers and there is a need to move forward," the university said in a statement Monday. "However, these are internal deliberations and we will have no comment at this time."
Jordan has support, including NBA commissioner and fellow Rutgers alumni, David Stern.
"He would be an outstanding candidate for the head coaching position," Stern said after the Scarlet Knights' job opened.
Mike O'Koren, who was worked with Jordan in the NBA, said his longtime friend has a passion for Rutgers.
"He is a Rutgers guy," O'Koren said in a telephone interview with The AP Monday. "He took the school to the Final Four. To me it's a no brainer because of his passion and love for the school."
Jordan has a 257-343 coaching record in the NBA. He was interviewed for the job in 2010 when Pernetti hired Rice away from Robert Morris.
Rice, who posted a 15-16 record this past season, initially was suspended for three games and fined $75,000 by the school when video of his conduct was given to Pernetti last fall.
Barchi agreed with the penalty, choosing to follow the advice of Pernetti, university attorney John Wolf and an independent report prepared by an outside counsel.
The decision came into question when ESPN released the videotape two weeks ago.
It showed numerous clips of Rice firing basketballs at players, hitting them in the back, legs, feet and shoulders. It also shows him grabbing players by their jerseys and yanking them around the court. Rice can also be heard yelling obscenities and using anti-gay slurs.
Barchi ordered him fired on April 3. Pernetti resigned two days later. Both men received more than $1 million to leave.
The university talked to Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley about the job, but he decided to stay after receiving a contract extension.