Some members of the Rutgers University search committee that recommended the hiring of new athletic director Julie Hermann have expressed dissatisfaction with the hiring process, according to an ESPN.com story.
Kate Sweeney and Richard Edwards, who co-chaired the Rutgers’ board search committee, notified the committee members to defend the hiring process, amid swirling controversy that has called into question Hermann’s past.
“As members of the Search Advisory Team, you all had the opportunity to examine Julie’s credentials, to spend some time with her when she was on campus, and to provide us with your thoughts regarding her candidacy as Rutgers’ next director of intercollegiate athletics,” they wrote, according to emails obtained by ESPN. “As you know, there was strong support for Julie, and for what she could bring to Rutgers.”
In a pointed e-mailed responses, at least two committee members claimed the leaders had rushed the process, and that made them uneasy with Hermann’s hiring. One complaint said the committee didn’t fully address concerns regarding a lawsuit filed against Hermann by an employee, and that he didn’t spend enough time with her to feel good about her rebuilding an athletic department shaken from a scandal involving an abusive coach.
“There was very little information about the candidates disseminated to the larger committee,” wrote committee member Ken Schmidt to the group. “At this time, please do not try to rewrite the facts. I suspect you will find others that share my opinion.”
Added Ron Garutti: “Please, let’s not present this as any kind of exemplary process. Subsequent events have proven otherwise.”
Rutgers continues to be mired in bad publicity. The school gained national attention last month when a video leaked showing men’s basketball coach Mike Rice yelling at players and hurling basketballs at them in practice, leading to his dismissal and the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti.
Hermann was hired May 15th to replace Pernetti, but she apparently came with baggage. She was accused of verbally abusing her volleyball team while head coach at the University of Tennessee in the 1990s. Later, as an administrator at Tennessee, she was accused of directing an assistant volleyball coach not to get pregnant.
While a senior athletics administrator at Louisville, a female assistant track and field coach claimed she was fired after complaining to Hermann and the university’s human resources department about sexual discrimination by the head coach, though Louisville attorneys claim the woman was dismissed for poor job performance.
A Rutgers spokesman declined to comment to the New York Times on the e-mails.