From very early on in her tenure, it was apparent Julie Hermann was a problem for Rutgers basketball.
According to a source with ties to high school and AAU recruiting, Hermann held Jordan back. "Recruits who had their choices and did their homework were aware of Julie's background and reputation," he said.
But now, Hermann is gone, quickly replaced by Patrick Hobbs, the former Dean of Seton Hall Law School. Not only does Hobbs have deep legal qualifications, but he was also the interim AD at Seton Hall--a basketball school--when it came time to get rid of the onerous Bobby Gonzalez. Hobbs then hired former Iona coach Kevin Willard (and, it should be noted, barely gave Mike Rice a nod in the process). While Willard hasn't been great, and has frustrated fans, he has run a clean program and made an NIT berth. He also brought in one of their best recruiting classes ever.
So, let's put it this way: Hobbs knows hoops.
He is basketball friendly, and he walks into a program that is in need of health. A class act coach is already in place, but Hobbs has to know that Jordan is not recruiting at full strength. Will Hermann gone, that albatross will be off Jordan's shoulders--however, the facility issue is still what it is--a major issue.
Hobbs is known as a very strong fundraiser, and it's time for him to leverage that strength. There is no time to completely re-imagine the master plan. Hobbs needs to build off the ideas that are already in play--the practice facility above the parking garage. And he needs to start knocking on doors and hunting down donations.
Hobbs also knows Chris Christie very well, and has deep New Jersey political ties. It's time for him to use those connections too. The most important thing in Rutgers basketball history needs to happen as soon as possible. They have to get their facilities on par with other Big Ten buddies.
This is Hobbs mission, and don't expect him to overlook it. Patrick Hobbs is, by all accounts, a big basketball fan. He'll want to see the sport succeed here. It's arguably the most important job in the athletic department. The facility issue affects nearly all sports.
Listen, Rutgers football fans, no one is saying football is going to sit on the sidelines. Hiring a head football coach is probably the other most important job in the athletic department. No one is saying the football program isn't the face of the department. It is. And it won't go forgotten and it won't play second fiddle.
But hoops is important too.
And Hobbs comes from a basketball school. That is key.
Perhaps Patrick Hobbs can be the Athletic Director basketball fans is waiting for. He certainly has to be better than Julie Hermann.
Hopefully, there won't be any homework for recruits to do this time.
Dave White is the author of the Jackson Donne thrillers. You can order them at his website.