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Hiring Julie Hermann, Rutgers Seeks A New Era In Athletics

Rutgers University officials are welcoming the arrival of new athletic director Julie Hermann as the beginning of a new era, as the school seeks to rebound from the turmoil that recently engulfed its athletics department.

The hiring of Hermann, who most recently was the executive senior associate director of athletics at Louisville, comes one month after the school fired its basketball coach, Mike Rice, who was shown in video recordings to have shoved and verbally abused his players during practices.

Days after Rice was fired, the state university of New Jersey accepted the resignation of athletic director Tim Pernetti, opening the way for a new athletics regime at the school.

"It's a pleasure to welcome Julie Hermann to the Rutgers community," school President Robert Barchi said. "She is one of the most respected athletics administrators in the country. ... Her 15 years of leadership experience will be an invaluable asset to the university as we prepare to enter the Big Ten."

Rutgers says Hermann was chosen from a pool of 63 candidates.

Hermann, 49, is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she played volleyball. Before heading to Louisville, she coached at flagship universities in Wyoming, Georgia and Tennessee. And as her hiring was announced, Hermann declared a new day at Rutgers.

"We will no longer have any practice, anywhere, anytime, that anybody couldn't walk into and be pleased about what's going on in that environment," Hermann said Wednesday. "It is a new day. It is already fixed, and there's no one that doesn't agree about how we treat young people with respect, and dignity, and build trust."

As The Star-Ledger's Steve Politi writes, Hermann was at Louisville during its dramatic turnaround:

"She worked for 15 years with arguably the best AD in college sports, watching as [Tom] Jurich turned a scandal-ridden Conference USA program into one of the most complete athletic departments in the country and, starting in 2014, the newest member of the ACC."

Rutgers will begin playing in the Big Ten next year. With the hire of Hermann, there are now three women heading the athletic departments of universities in the top tier of sports; the others are Sandy Barbour of UC Berkeley and Debbie Yow of N.C. State.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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