by Bill DiFilippo / @bflip33
In his first television appearance since his firing in April, former Rutgers head coach Mike Rice apologized for his actions and called himself a changed man.
Rice will appear on ABC’s 20/20 this Friday night, where he told Robin Robers that he learned from the mistakes that led to his firing, such as throwing balls at players and using homophobic slurs.
Hoping to learn from his mistakes and repair his reputation, Rice reached out to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), where he said it was a wake-up call when a girl told him that his past behavior made him no better than the bully who once made her cry.
“That was a hard lesson learned that’s for sure,” said Rice. “There is going to be a different message. There is going to be a different Coach Rice.”
Rice also spent five weeks of therapy in Houston with former NBA player John Lucas, who runs a treatment and recovery center for athletes.
“You’re not going to completely change the perception…because that’s going to be who Mike Rice is, a small percentage of it,” Rice said.
During Rice’s three-year tenure, the Scarlet Knights went 44-51 and failed to finish higher than 11th in the Big East. He compiled a 117-82 record in his six seasons as a head coach—three at Robert Morris and three at Rutgers. In 2008-09 and 2009-10, Rice led Robert Morris to the NCAA Tournament.