Ex-Rutgers coach Mike Rice: 'I was an idiot, but I never abused anybody'

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Mike Rice says the behavior that led to his firing at Rutgers was "idiotic."


More than seven months after he was fired from Rutgers for abusing his players, Mike Rice is ready to tell his side of the story.

In a yet-to-be-aired interview on ABC's 20/20, Rice said he has changed.

"Having that taken away, your dream job ... and having it done in such a visible way ... and hurting the people closest to me ... it changes a person."

Rice was also featured in a New York Times Magazine profile, published online today.

"Everything I’ve ever done is fight, scratch and claw," he told the Times, "and now I have to sit back and take it, listen to people say I was abusing my players? I was an idiot, but I never abused anybody."

Rice seems sympathetic to be a sympathetic character in the profile. He was raised by an ultra-competitive father and saw the success of his own ultra-competitive style lead him to success at Robert Morris to Rutgers. It's easy to see how he let it get out of hand.

What isn't easy to see is how he could still deny that his actions -- throwing balls at players and referring to them as homophobic slurs -- were not just idiotic but in fact abusive.