The news broke as I was making my way to Lake George for a long weekend of staring at the Adirondacks and avoiding New York City's subway system: Rutgers had suspended Brian Brecht, the program's second-year head who had come to Rutgers following a successful stint at Siena, for allegedly questionable conduct. Almost one month to the day of the announcement of Brecht's indefinite suspension, the head coach is back in the office and allowed to wear school-issued polo shirts with the Rutgers logo emblazoned upon them:
Brian Brecht has been reinstated as head lacrosse coach at Rutgers, multiple sources told Inside Lacrosse on Tuesday.
Brecht had been suspended by the university in April before the team's last two games of the season, after anonymous allegations of verbal abuse. The suspension was in the wake of a high-profile incident at Rutgers that resulted in the school firing basketball coach Mike Rice.
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Brecht met with his team Tuesday afternoon and informed them that he had been reinstated and intended on returning as head coach of the program
A source told IL that three different investigations were conducted: a police investigation found no criminal activity and two different groups (one internal and one external) also found no significant issues with Brecht's conduct toward his team.
A statement later issued from the university said: "While the university investigation found that the coach did use inappropriate language and exhibited unprofessional behavior on occasion, the instances were infrequent and not directed at individual players. Accordingly the university found no criminal or university policy violations."
The rumors regarding the reason for Brecht's suspension started swirling almost immediately after Rutgers' announcement that the head coach would need to sit out as the university and local authorities conducted an investigation. The focus: An anonymous letter that alleged unacceptable verbal conduct. With the multi-layered investigation absolving Brecht of any wrongdoing, the situation is left for the history books. The debate as to whether an anonymous letter should have been the method to address concerns about Brecht's behavior, however, remains a sticking point for some. (I guess this all turns on how a particular person views the ethical legitimacy of whistle blowing and the possibility of reprisal.)
Brecht's focus now turns to establishing Rutgers as a viable lacrosse product after consecutive seasons in which the Scarlet Knights finished among the bottom third of the country in terms of performance and production.