So wrap your head around this delicious serving of irony if you can.
Rutgers, the same school fired its head basketball coach Mike Rice, after it was revealed he mentally and physically abused his players then accepted the “resignation” of their athletic director Tim Pernetti, due to his indirect involvement in the scandal, have hired a new director with a history of abuse herself to help them heal.
According to a lengthy and detailed story by Craig Wolff of the New Jersey Star-Ledger, recently-hired Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann, who was a volleyball coach at the University of Tennessee spanning almost two decades ago, has been accused by her former players of devastating mental abuse.
The details of the allegedly abuse Hermann inflicted on her players, were only uncovered because she wasn’t forthcoming in her introductory news conference about another incident from her checkered past where she was sued by an assistant coach for firing her due to her being pregnant in 1997.
Hermann appeared in the wedding video of Ginger Hineline, her assistant coach at the time, basically implying that she didn’t want the bride to come back from her honeymoon pregnant. After Hineline got pregnant, she was fired, then she filed a lawsuit against the school where she won $150,00. In a later interview, Hermann insisted that Hineline was fired because her work was beginning to suffer and not because she was pregnant.
At the news conference, the former volleyball coach strongly denied the video existed and that she was even at the wedding although, she was a bridesmaid. It was only then, the contents of a letter her players had submitted 16 years ago, after they had suffered an unbearable amount of verbal abuse from Herman, were revealed.
“The mental cruelty that we as a team have suffered is unbearable,” the players wrote. Specifically, they said the coach had called them “whores, alcoholics and learning disabled.”
“It has been unanimously decided that this is an irreconcilable issue.”
After taking in the words from the letter, Hermann apparently said the following words before disappearing from the lives of her players:“I choose not to coach you guys.”
For the past 16 years, Hermann had served as an assistant to the athletic director at the University of Louisville Tom Jurich, who says that his former co-worker never displayed any unprofessional behavior.
“I’ve never seen anything but impeccable behavior.”
“I knew things didn’t end well,” he said, “but that happens to a lot of coaches at a lot of places.”
The Rutgers athletic director says the allegations are shocking and denies ever seeing the letter presented by her former players, also saying that she has remained in contact with a number of them since she left the school.
“I never heard any of this, never name-calling them or anything like that whatsoever.”
The word “whore,” she said, is “not part of my vernacular. Not then, not now, not ever.”
“None of this is familiar to me,” she said.
Rutgers vice president of academic affairs Richard Edwards, said that the university and its lawyers investigated the lawsuit, then later released this statement.
“We have looked at the totality of Julie’s record in athletics administration and we look forward to her continued success as she leads Rutgers’ transition into the Big Ten.”
In recent interviews many of the women have said that they suffered from depression and needed counseling after playing for Hermann, a few even chose to remain anonymous because they’re afraid she might seek revenge.
One of Hermann’s former players Courtney Huettemann Goebel, recalled a time when she made them flip their workout clothes over at a restaurant following a huge loss.
“She wanted to embarrass us,” said Huettemann Goebel, “because she said we were an embarrassment to the university.”
Many of the women like Huettemann Goebel, still hold onto those memories after all these years and refuse to forgive her for the psychological damage she inflicted on them.
The new Rutgers AD on the other hand, is only focused on her current job and not her alleged abusive past.
“From Ginger to these players, these are people I cared about and still care about,” she said on Wednesday. “I just don’t feel it’s my job to guess their motivations. Like I said, it’s the first I’ve ever heard of it. I’m going to try to focus on leading Rutgers into the Big Ten, and that’s all I know to do.”
Hermann, doesn’t seem like she has any intentions on taking responsibility for the lives she has damaged which speaks to what type of person she is, I just hope at some point those women are able to move on with their lives.