Hill retained as coach

Fred Hill

Rutgers coach Fred Hill met with athletic director Tim Pernetti and was told he would be back for a fifth season. There was plenty of speculation about Hill's status after a fourth straight losing season, but the program made gains from the previous three seasons under Hill, and Pernetti said such progress he elected to back his coach.

After plenty of deliberation and a morning meeting between Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti and men's basketball coach Fred Hill, the first-year athletic director announced he would not be searching for a new coach.

Instead, Hill will get a fifth year, and the opportunity to live up to the statement he believes the Scarlet Knights will be an NCAA Tournament team next season.

"Fred Hill is under contract as our men's basketball head coach,'' Pernetti said in a statement. "We had a productive meeting and look forward to working together to build the program."

The announcement came more than a week after Rutgers' season ended with a one-point loss to Cincinnati in the Big East tournament.

There was speculation about Hill's job status since January, and although it quieted down after a stretch of strong performances against Notre Dame, Georgetown and DePaul, it was brought into question after another sub .500 season.

Rutgers is 47-77, including 13-57 in the Big East, in Hill's four seasons. But the Scarlet Knights' 15-17 finish, including 5-13 in the league, were the best under Hill.

Also, the Scarlet Knights return all but one player, Big East defensive player of the year Hamady Ndiaye, next season. The growth and expected maturity of his current players were the reason Hill told ScarletReport.com on Feb. 14 he thought Rutgers was an NCAA Tournament team next season.

"If you ask me what a goal would be right now, we're going to go .500 or better (in the Big East), and that means we're going to win 19 or 20 games,'' Hills said then, "and we're going to be knocking on the door to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991 because I've seen these guys work and what they do.''

If Rutgers fired Hill, it would have owed him$1.56 million.

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