The Golden Era Af Sports At Rutgers

By Richard Kent
Updated: April 13, 2007

Ray Rice

Ray Rice

CONNECTICUT — Has a university such as Rutgers, which was once thought of to have a downtrodden sports program ever had a better year than this year?

Perhaps in 1976 when the football team went undefeated and the men’s basketball team went to the Final Four but that was a day in which the media glare was not nearly as great as it is today.

There was no ESPN and the exploits were certainly not viewed on a national stage. All that changed in 2006-07 under the tutelage Athletic Director Bob Mulcahy.

First the football team led by Heisman Trophy candidate Ray Rice went 11-2, was as high as No. 7 nationally and won the Texas Bowl in a rout over Kansas State.

Rutgers, was only an overtime period away from going to the Orange Bowl and bringing even more glory to the University and to the Big East Conference.

The women’s basketball team, not heralded going into the season not only went to the Final Four but to the National Championship game for the first time in its NCAA history.

They lost to Tennessee but made a nation proud of an underachiever who achieved. They then got some unexpected notoriety. Don Imus made some very disparaging remarks about them and they handled the remarks with class and dignity.

Essence Carson, the team captain, became the spokesperson and made America realize what quality human beings, students and athletes Rutgers had playing for it on the playing field.

The men’s basketball team finally got a recruit from the highly fabled St. Anthony’s Program, Mike Rosario. Yes he is only a junior and won’t be eligible until 2008-09 but he is a top flight New Jersey player.

Those types of athletes have traditionally in the past gone to the Georgetown’s, Notre Dame’s and Duke’s of this world. The baseball team recently completed a three game sweep against UConn and the women’s lacrosse team is ranked nationally for the first time in years.

Rutgers is on the map and don’t be surprised to see them stay on the map for years to come.