New Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann spoke to reporters Monday to deny accusations that she had been cruel towards her players as Tennessee's volleyball coach in the 1990's and say that she had no intentions of stepping down from her post, per the Star-Ledger.
The allegations have reignited controversy at Rutgers, as Hermann's former players said that she was herself guilty of behavior she was supposed to clean up, months after the abusive behavior of basketball coach Mike Rice led to a rash of firings and Hermann's eventual hiring.
Hermann admitted to being "intense" in charge of her volleyball team, but that she had no idea what caused her ex-players to say she was in charge of a culture of name-calling and humiliation.
"Am I an intense coach? I'm absolutely an intense coach as many coaches are. But there is a big canyon between being super-intense and abuse. And this was not an abusive environment for these women," Hermann said.
Hermann would deny the claim that she called her players "whores, alcoholics, and learning disabled," and, as in the original Star-Ledger story describing the alleged abuse, said she didn't understand the motivation of her ex-players in airing their grievances.
Hermann added she didn't foresee herself stepping down:
"I never considered withdrawing because I feel very qualified in leading Rutgers into the future," Hermann said.
The school's president backs her up:
Julie Hermann tells @espn Rutgers Prez Robert Barchi assured her she would remain AD despite past allegations— Brett McMurphy (@McMurphyESPN) May 27, 2013
If the allegations are true, the controversy surrounding Hermann is another in a series of missteps by Rutgers in handling a situation that very easily could have been dealt with by simply firing Rice when his behavior became known. Even their hiring of former basketball star Eddie Jordan to replace Rice turned out to be an issue, as Jordan never graduated from college -- an NCAA requirement for all head coaches.