NJ – Sixteen years ago, members of the University of Tennessee women’s volleyball team gathered for a last meeting with their head coach, Julie Hermann. In gym shorts or jeans, some piled onto a black leather couch. Others sat on the floor, cross-legged, almost breathless. Many of them remember Hermann standing over them, as she had at hundreds of practices and matches. For several minutes, as the players recall, she said nothing. The players say everyone, including the athletic director, had been brought together by a letter all 15 players on the team had submitted. In it, the players said, their coach had ruled through humiliation, fear and emotional abuse. ”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.” In blunt terms, the players wrote, “It has been unanimously decided that this is an irreconcilable issue.”
Hermann, the players say, absorbed the words, turned to her team, and said simply: “I choose not to coach you guys.”
At that, say the players, she turned and left the room. Her coaching days were over, and many players say they never saw her again, though she briefly moved into athletic administration on the Knoxville campus. Then, 11 days ago, Hermann, assistant to the Louisville athletic director for 16 years, was introduced as the new athletic director for Rutgers. The appointment quickly spawned a Facebook conversation among at least 17 of Hermann’s former Tennessee players, now spread across the country, with young families and careers, bonded by what many of them say is trauma and an anger they still have not shed. The group includes women who played for Hermann over five of the six years she coached at Tennessee.
Got to respect what Rutgers has been doing lately. Just completely and utterly stopped trying in any capacity. The ultimate mailtime. Letting Mike Rice stick around far too long. Firing Tim Pernetti and making him the scapegoat. Announcing the new hoops coach as a graduate from Rutgers when, in fact, he hadn’t graduated at all. Hiring a new replacement AD to clean up their image who called her volleyball team mentally handicapped alcoholic whores. It’s almost astonishing the levels of stupidity we’re dealing with. Background checks? Fuck it, too much work. Just stick em in a job opening and hope nothing bad surfaces. Oops, it did again.