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College Basketball Rutgers Mike Rice Coaching Scandal Manager Ian Diatlo

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Former Rutgers Basketball Student-Manager Shares His Memories of Mike Rice’s Coaching Tactics

The story involving Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice took several turns on Wednesday. Rice was fired and apologized outside his home for the actions seen in videotapes that went public on Tuesday. But also, reports became conflicting as to when the university president became aware of the situation.
In this interview, Ian Diatlo, a former student-manager at Rutgers last season under Rice, describes what he witnessed being around the program.Former Rutgers student-manager Ian Diatlo joined 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia with The Jon Marks and Sean Brace Show to discuss if what we saw on video of Mike Rice’s coaching was a typical practice, some specific situations involving Rice and players, a situation involving Eric Murdock, if he ever left practice feeling like someone had to know what was going on, if Rice changed when his boss came to practice and if he believes Rice meant his apology on Wednesday.

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As the manager of the team, how often were you around those practices at Rutgers?:

“I was there like pretty much every practice. … That was a very typical practice. This occurred like every practice. … I was a student-manager there for the season.”

And what was the typical reaction? Did the assistant coaches and players think this was OK?:

“It’s not that they thought it was OK, it’s just that this was the man in the highest-powered position there. So, I mean, the players, if they spoke up, probably feared that they could lose their scholarship. I do know that one player actually had his scholarship pulled from him.”

For speaking up?:

“Well not for speaking up, but just for not taking it from the coach, really. The coach said he didn’t fit into his gameplan, but we all know that was a lie. And then pretty much our best player, Gilvydas Biruta, he was our best post player, our best post position there, and he just transferred because he couldn’t take it anymore.”

So pretty  much every day he’s firing the ball at his players?

“Every day.”

How well do you know Eric Murdock?:

“I knew Eric Murdock pretty well. I remember one incident specifically with Coach Rice and Murdock. … Murdock had told the team to do a full-court press on the opposing team, which the opposing team easily beat and threw an alley-oop. And then Rice, in front of Murdock’s whole family, pretty much berated him and told him to sit down and not say another word for the rest of the game, which was very embarrassing for him.”

Did you ever walk out of practice thinking that somebody needed to let someone know what was going on with Mike Rice?:

“I figured that people did know because the practices take place in the Rack and the Rack is where all the athletic administrators’ offices are. They were always around, it’s just that I think they were really turning a blind eye to it.”

Did he become a different person when an administrator came into the practice?:

“Yes, when the bosses showed up. But the surprising thing was that Coach Rice actually acted in this same way when recruits were there. … I thought, as a recruit, there’s no way I’d want to have him as my coach in college.”

He apologized on Wednesday. Do you think he really meant it?:

“To be honest, no, I do not.”

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