It's around 9:00 pm on Wednesday night. March 9. Our long national nightmare was coming to an end.
It was just a matter of time before Pat Hobbs pulled the trigger to fire Eddie Jordan. I figured after the Big Ten Tournament. Don't want to upstage the conference with an ugly piece of news.
Yeah, my timing never was very good.
I mean, if you're concerned about ugly news, you just didn't watch or read about Rutgers Men's Basketball all year. Or all decade. Or since before the millennium.
Pat Hobbs is nothing if not decisive.
As was his boss, University President Robert Barchi back in November. Bob "The Axe" Barchi made a clean sweep back then when he fired Kyle Flood and Julie Hermann. I think they calculated the total time as 11 minutes, not including offering coffee and cookies, which I doubt they did. It took Flood longer to get back to Piscataway on the helicopter flight he was taking to recruit some kid on Long Island.
Barchi's hiring of Hobbs was a quick turn around as well. And not just in terms of the speed with which the decision was made. The man who took a hands-, feet-, eyes-, ears-, and nose-off approach to athletics, suddenly became the champion of athletics. This is the man who flat out said that if we had to build anything to get into the Big Ten "we would have to pass". He ain't passing any more.
While other university presidents embraced athletics and sought a higher profile for their school, Barchi remained the academic, above the fray that is Power 5 sports. But from everything that has happened over the last four months, Barchi has seen the light and realizes that athletics, the proverbial "front door of the university", needed to be addressed. Hard and fast.
And Pat Hobbs is his point man. After a brief but apparently intense search, Hobbs brought in Chris Ash as football coach. And we were going to change the "culture". Less than 24 hours after the S.S. Jordan sent out its last S.O.S., Hobbs made the call -- or at least announced it -- that Eddie was gone.
Rutgers Fires Men's Basketball Coach Eddie Jordan https://t.co/NloVl5VwWG pic.twitter.com/4OBjmgoZwV— On the Banks (@OTB_SBNation) March 10, 2016
And the next search by Hobbs began. Or at least now it could be announced to be in progress. The likely reality is that Hobbs and whomever he consults with made the decision to end Jordan's time at Rutgers weeks ago. I have no authoritative information to that end, but the evidence against Eddie staying was mounting day after day after day.
This is what Hobbs was hired to do. Well, this and to undo the train wreck of the Hermann era.
Julie Hermann didn't make a major coaching hire in 2.5 years as AD. Pat Hobbs is set to make his second huge hire in four months.— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) March 10, 2016
Football and/or hoops hires don't happen every day, and most athletic directors don't make a lot of hires in that area. Pat Hobbs is breaking ground with both in a matter of months.
Back in January I wrote a post on something that BTN's Sean Merriman and Tom Dienhart had written. The post focused on the idea of how the synergy among an athletic director, a football coach, and a basketball coach at a school can create a dynamic and exciting atmosphere. Of the schools listed - Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State, and Wisconsin - in none of their cases did the current athletic director hire both the football and basketball coach. One actually inherited both. Yet, the personalities, their drive, the connection that exists at those schools involving those three positions has developed into a very successful triumvirate.
Hobbs has the opportunity to create a very unique trio at Rutgers, one that may be very singular in a P5 conference. An AD, brought in to change things - dramatically, we might add - and to create an athletic department the way he wants starting with the two most prominent coaching positions on campus. His vision, his guys.
This is a big hire for Hobbs. It is a monumental hire for Rutgers. He cannot get it wrong. Rutgers cannot be penny wise and pound foolish. Rutgers is in the Big Ten, and to quote our own shining knight, Ray Lesniak, we need to act like it. Hiring the best coach we can get is critical to the image, the brand, that is Rutgers University. And not just Rutgers athletics, the whole university. Building the program to compete and win in the Big Ten, and escaping the current image that is RU men's basketball, has to be Priority 1 for Hobbs. On being hired, he set his two priorities: hire a football coach and raise money. Those are done or underway; this task now rises to the top.