Hermann sets her goals for Rutgers

Posted: June 19, 2013

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Saying she has rolled up her sleeves and is ready to work, Julie Hermann took over as Rutgers University athletic director with the promise that her number-one job is to create an atmosphere for Scarlet Knights students to excel on and off the field.

The embattled Hermann showed up for work before most of her employees Monday morning and started the task of leading an embarrassed athletic department back to respectability, winning back boosters and alumni and leading the university into the Big Ten Conference in 2014.

Hermann did not answer either e-mails or telephone calls left by the Associated Press seeking comment. She did release an open letter to the student-athletes late Monday afternoon on the university's athletic website.

She promised to create a best-in-class student-athlete care system committed to developing programs to support both athletic and academic pursuits.

"Another of my goals is to make the most of our extraordinary opportunity to join the prestigious Big Ten Conference," Hermann wrote. "Being a member of the Big Ten will provide exciting new possibilities, not only for Rutgers as an institution, but also for you, as a student athlete. I look forward to conducting a comprehensive strategic review of all aspects of Rutgers athletics as we prepare to compete against the best in the nation."

Hermann said she plans to meet with as many people as she can to learn about Rutgers' sports and to listen and understand the challenges and opportunities faced by all involved.

"I've already rolled up my sleeves, and I can't wait to get to work with you, your coaches, and the athletic department staff to move Rutgers athletics forward," Hermann wrote. "We will take the lessons of the past and learn from them. We will take the successes of the past and build on them. And, together, we will take Rutgers to new heights. Our work toward tomorrow begins today."

Hermann finished her letter with: "Go Rutgers!"

Athletic department spokesman Jason Baum said Hermann would not talk to reporters until next week.

The 49-year-old Hermann was hired May 15 and then spent weeks under the microscope after it was alleged by volleyball players whom she coached at the University of Tennessee in 1996 that they were verbally and emotionally abused by her. She denied the allegations.

The allegations were particularly troublesome because Rutgers' recent problems started after a videotape was aired in early April showing men's basketball coach Mike Rice verbally and physically abusing his players during his three-year tenure. The verbal assault included antigay slurs.

Rice was fired within days by university president Robert L. Barchi, and athletic director Tim Pernetti was forced to resign two days after that for his handling of the incident.

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