In a conversation with Jerry Carino, Eddie Jordan--the new coach of Rutgers basketball--said he told Julie Hermann--the new AD at Rutgers--he didn't want anything other than to win.
That's all he wanted.
He didn't want major upgrades to the RAC, he didn't want a brand-spankin' new practice facility. All he wanted was to win.
But, as noble a gesture as that is to your new boss, it's probably not enough. Because basketball--just like football--is an arms race when it comes to recruiting. Kids want the newest, the nicest, the best. And right now Rutgers doesn't have that. Granted, the new scoreboard is supposed to be added in this summer, but beyond that--what's left? The donors have pulled their donations, angry about the Tim Pernetti situation. The team hasn't won in forever.
And, besides some fits and starts, the program has never recruited at a high level. And when they do, the recruits ultimately transfer out.
Julie Hermann has to realize this. She has to do what she can to cajole some of the biggest supporters into doing what they're supposed to do. Support. She has to convince them Rutgers is not just Tim Pernetti, but an institution. One that has a bright future ahead of it in the B1G, if handled correctly.
And in order to handle it correctly, she must realize that football is not the end all be all. It may be the number 1 program in most--if not all--athletic departments, but men's basketball is a close second. And when the number 2 program is a sinkhole, someone has to try and dig it out.
Eddie's going to do his job. Next year, he needs to be competitive in a weakened division. If he can finish over .500, recruiting becomes easier.
If, this summer, Jordan can bring in some respectable re-inforcements from the 2014 class, convincing some DC kids that *this time* it'll be different, he might even be able to make a dent in his first Big Ten year.
But, beyond that?
He needs the RAC. Because recruits want to see results fast. And if Jordan can't get to the NCAAs in 2 years (which is unlikely), AAU coaches, HS coaches, high school players, and those weird handler guys are going to give up. And if you're not winning that quickly, what else do you have to sell?
So, Eddie and Julie have to get this RAC renovation off the ground. They are behind in the basketball arms race. She has to tap some of her Yum! Center contacts (because, let's face it, even if she didn't work on football and hoops in Lousiville, she knows some people) and get them to come in and find a way to get this RAC stuff done.
As for Rutgers fans? It's time to support the program. If the teams are winning, no one will care who the AD is. But college sports--way more than pro-sports--need their fans. They need their fans to give.
They need to flock back.
They need to believe.
Start preaching, Eddie. Start evangelizing, Julie.