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Former high school coaches recall Rutgers University coach as a teen

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BOARDMAN, Ohio - A former New Jersey college basketball coach got his start in the game here in the Mahoning Valley and is now making national headlines.

Coach Mike Rice was fired from Rutgers University after a videotape aired showing him shoving, grabbing and throwing balls at players during practice.

Rice is the son of former Youngstown State University basketball coach, Mike Rice, and played at Boardman High School in the late 1980's.

Former high school coaches in the area say they were shocked to see the video. They remember Rice as a tough, competitive and aggressive player.

"He went out and played the game the way coaches expected kids to play back in the 80's and 90's," says former Cardinal Mooney coach Roy Nard. "You know, the loose ball on the floor, two or three kids would dive for it. He would be one of the kids diving for it."

Former Warren, Western Reserve and Warren Harding coach Bob LaRicca attributes Rice's style to his upbringing.

"I know he was a tough kid and I think part of that tough kid is the fact that he grew up in his dad's shadow," LaRicca says.

Former Boardman coach, Al Burns, spoke with our print partner The Vindicator about Rice.

"In high school, I was on him like a hawk," Burns says. "I tried to curb his swearing and his temper but it was always there. He's competitive and he couldn't hold it back."

Rice apologized after the videotape was released. Officials at Rutgers say they have started a nationwide search for a new head basketball coach.

 

 

 

 

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