Rutgers basketball coach Stringer on paid leave for 1 year

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Legendary Rutgers women’s basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer has been on extended paid leave since last April — and some Rutgers women’s basketball team players and parents have told the Bergen Record this week they felt cheated by her absence.

Stringer has been on approved college leave since April 19, 2021, a Rutgers Athletics spokesperson confirmed to Patch. He declined to say why she is on paid leave, citing her privacy.

But he said that although Stringer asked for the leave and his request was approved, he also called it “unexpected”.

“Out of respect for his privacy and in accordance with the law, we cannot provide further details on his situation,” Rutgers spokesman Hasim Phillips said. “Tim Eatman has taken over to replace Coach Stringer during his unexpected leave.”

Stringer received his $1 million salary, plus $235,000 in annual retention bonus, while on paid leave, the school confirmed. Stringer just re-signed a five-year contract with Rutgers in April 2021.

She is expected to return to Rutgers women’s basketball on June 15, the university said.

“Coach Stringer took an approved leave of absence effective April 19, 2021 with a return date of August 31, 2021. The approved leave was subsequently extended, at Coach Stringer’s request, three times – from first on August 17, 2021 with a return date of November 1, 2021, then on October 28, 2021 with a return date of January 1, 2022 and again on November 4, 2021 with a return date of June 15, 2022”, specifies the ‘school.

In his absence, Rutgers women’s basketball had a dismal 21-22 season — the worst in years — finishing second-to-last in the Big Ten Conference this winter.

Coach Stringer is legendary not just in college basketball, but in all of American sports, and has one of the best winning records in women’s basketball history. Under Stringer, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights generally dominate the Big Ten. Stringer is the only coach in women’s basketball history to take three different college teams (Rutgers, University of Iow, and Cheyney University of Pennsylvania) to the NCAA Final Four.

The parents of the Rutgers women’s team players told the Bergen Record they believe Rutgers staged a “masquerade” to “cover up” the fact that Stringer was not there.

A mother, who did not want to be named, said her daughter would ‘never’ have agreed to play for Rutgers if she had known Coach Stringer wouldn’t be there, and many Rutgers players feel the same thing.

In fact, it wasn’t until a video call on Nov. 8 that Coach Stringer told the team she would be out for the entire season.

“Since the spring of 2021 leading up to the November 8 team meeting, student-athletes have been informed by Coach Eatman that Coach Stringer intends to return to the program and coach the 2021-22 season. , however, the exact timing was unknown,” Phillips told Patch.

“While we understand this isn’t an optimal situation and it’s a challenge for everyone, most of the players have been understanding and compassionate,” continued Phillips. “And no complaint or allegation of abusive behavior on the part of the interim coach has been made to (Rutgers Athletic Director Patrick) Mr. Hobbs or his administration.”

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