Rutgers could eye 76ers' Jordan
As Philadelphia 76ers coach Eddie Jordan counts down to his imminent dismissal at season's end, he could soon be a serious candidate for the job at Rutgers University, sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Jordan has "significant" interest in returning to try and resurrect his alma mater's fledgling Big East Conference program, a source close to him said Saturday.
Jordan is a popular former player, and one university source says he still has a strong booster backing and could emerge as a serious candidate along with former St. John’s coach Fran Fraschilla and former Boston College and Ohio State coach Jim O'Brien. Sources say the Rutgers administration has been fact-finding about Jordan for his possible candidacy. Jordan still has a great deal of support among several long-time influential boosters.
"There's mutual interest here," a source close to both sides said.
Clearly, Jordan would prefer to stay as 76ers coach, but his demise has been reported for months. Injuries, the franchise's dysfunctional state and perhaps a roster ill-suited for his Princeton-style offense contributed to a disappointing 26-53 season. He is still due to be paid the balance of the four-year, roughly $12 million contract he signed a year ago.
Jordan is a popular son of Rutgers. He was the MVP in the East Regional when Rutgers advanced to its only Final Four in 1976 and had two different stops as an assistant coach there in the 1980s after the end of his NBA career. As a New Jersey Nets assistant in 2001, Jordan did have a meeting with Rutgers officials about the head coaching vacancy but talks never became serious.
Jordan arrived in Philadelphia after five-plus seasons as the Washington Wizards coach. Despite devastating injuries to franchise player Gilbert Arenas(notes) and several core players in Washington, Jordan still managed a 197-224 record and a franchise-record four straight appearances in the playoffs.
Rutgers officials have given embattled coach Fred Hill until Monday to accept a buyout package of $600,000, reports say, or risk losing all of the $1.8 million owed him on his contract. Otherwise, the university plans to fire Hill with “cause” for a bizarre incident involving an obscenity-laced diatribe toward a University of Pittsburgh baseball coach.