Rutgers introduced Eddie Jordan as its new men's basketball coach Tuesday, turning to a name from the school's past as it seeks to move forward from a scandal that forced the firing of coach Mike Rice and the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti.
The 58-year-old Jordan played for the Scarlet Knights from 1973-77 and was a member of Rutgers' Final Four team in 1976. He also coached the Philadelphia 76ers from 2009 to 2010. Most recently he's been an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"We have to regain our pride and our dignity and our integrity for our university,'' Jordan said at a news conference that began with some in the crowd chanting "Eddie! Eddie!'' when he entered. "I'm honored and proud to be part of that.''
Jordan made it clear that rebuilding the program was only part of his mission.
"It's not just healing, not just building relationships. It's not just getting the program back, but winning is always in the equation,'' he said. "There's some healing that has to be done. But we have enough talent to exceed expectations.''
Rice was fired this month after a video showed him grabbing and throwing a ball at players, and uttering anti-gay slurs during practices. Pernetti and two others connected to the program resigned.
Rutgers will pay Jordan a guaranteed $6.25 million over five years, the school announced.
"Without question Eddie Jordan is part of our basketball program's most cherished memories, and he is here now to help us make a bright future for the Scarlet Knights,'' Rutgers President Robert Barchi said. "He is passionate about basketball and committed to winning, yet he also knows our university's values and our commitment to promoting an atmosphere of respect and dignity for everyone.''
Rutgers went 15-16 last season and five players have asked to leave the program. The school will join the Big Ten for the 2014-15 season.