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Rutgers honors its football past & hangs on to its president

We’ve got some major news on a couple of different fronts. We’re finally creating “tradition” from our history. And guess who isn’t retiring after all?!

It is long past time to make this announcement, which Rutgers Athletics did today:

Rutgers Athletics will honor the 2006 and 1976 football teams in celebration of the 10th and 40th anniversaries at upcoming home games at High Point Solutions Stadium. The 2006 team will be recognized at the game versus Indiana on Nov. 5, while the 1976 will be honored on Nov. 19 for the contest against Penn State.

Here at On the Banks, this conversation has been going on for a while. We asked should we honor 2006 team now - at its tenth anniversary - and also why aren’t we honoring the 40th anniversary of only the second undefeated football team in school history.

The answer is now....we are.

In 2006, Rutgers was still a novelty as a successful program. But that was the “breakout” year, with the 9-0 start, the stunning Thursday night victory over then-No. 3 Louisville, the 11 win season, and the final No. 12 ranking in the national polls. Add to that the first bowl win ever and the performances of both Ray Rice and Brian Leonard and you have a magical season. I can recall watching ESPN’s PTI and listening to Mike Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser talking about “what if Rutgers runs the table — do they get a shot at the championship?” Wow! Never in my lifetime.

And then there was 1976. Undefeated seasons don’t happen every day....or year. And with basketball having already honored the 40th anniversary of RU’s only Final Four team, including an undefeated regular season, it was only right that the same occur for football. No, it wasn’t a championship, but 1976 was a different era. And it’s hard to win a championship when you aren’t in a conference.

Two honors for our history. Building the tradition.

Look who’s staying for dinner

To me, Robert Barchi’s tenure as president of Rutgers has been a bit of a roller coaster. This is the man who didn’t have time to watch the video of Mike Rice’s dodgeball practices and then let Tim Pernetti take the fall. This is the man who hired Julie Hermann. He also said that he would have passed on the Big Ten if it meant having to build any facilities as a prerequisite to admission.

He also was at the helm when RU finished out the billion dollar campaign, Our Rutgers, Our Future. He oversaw the building of the new academic building and The Yard.

And he also fired Kyle Flood and Julie Hermann, and hired Pat Hobbs.

As I said, a roller coaster.

Barchi’s original contract was for five years, meaning his time would be up next June. But according to the Sargeant report, there is now a rolling agreement that Barchi can stay pretty much as long as he wants or unless the Board of Governors terminates him.

Barchi was brought in primarily to oversee the merger of Rutgers with UMDNJ. There were more than a few people, including this writer, who thought that once that was accomplished, he would move on. He even professed that. Barchi;s thoughts have obviously changed.

"As of right now, I have no intention of stepping down this year," Barchi said. "As long as I think we are on a positive trajectory... I am willing to continue in the job for a while."