Embattled incoming Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann was on the Piscataway, N.J., campus Wednesday to discuss assuming her new position, which will take place on June 17.
Hermann defended her record as an administrator and dismissed accusations that she verbally abused volleyball players when she was a coach at the University of Tennessee. She acknowledged that the controversy has been an embarrassment and made her transition more difficult than what she expected.
"It was heartbreaking to hear the voices of these people," she told Philly.com.
The voices Hermann refers to belong to members of the Volunteer volleyball team who have accused her of verbal abuse. But allegations of her calling players "whores" and other names were false, she said.
She said the lessons she learned while at Tennessee have helped shape her into well-qualified administrator prepared to run an athletic department.
"That lesson of 17 years ago was honestly why I felt I was uniquely qualified, not only very qualified but uniquely qualified because I have been a student-athlete, been an assistant coach, been a head coach and now an administrator," she said. "I have been in every spot that exists in an athletic department, and I understand the challenges.
"I have been successful with them and I had a failure with them."
Hermann said she is "prepared to go to the mat" dealing with a "national embarrassment" that has preceded her and the controversy that has dogged her since she was named athletic director.
"I'm really anxious to get to work," she said.
Before heading to the Rutgers campus, Hermann met with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany in New York. At Rutgers, she met with school president Robert Barchi, and Scarlet Knights coaches.
As Rutgers moves into the Big Ten, Hermann said she would like to create a support system for athletes, similar to what she instituted at Louisville, where she has been executive senior associate athletic director.