Crooks retires after 14 years at the helm of women’s soccer

After 14 years as the Rutgers head women’s soccer coach, Glenn Crooks will retire, Athletic Director Julie Hermann announced Tuesday.

Associate head coach Mike O’Neill, Crooks’ lead assistant during his tenure, will take over as head coach. Crooks finishes as the second-winningest coach in program history.

“After 22 years as a Division I women’s soccer head coach, I have decided to retire,” Crooks said in a statement. “I have full confidence in the current coaching staff, led by the extraordinary talents of my associate head coach Mike O’Neill and first assistant Meghan Ryan. I know that the Rutgers women’s soccer program is well positioned to make an immediate impact in the Big Ten.

“I look forward to continuing to coach and train teams at the club and ODP levels while exploring media and broadcasting opportunities beyond my current work as an analyst for Sky Blue FC.”

The Daily Targum / File Photo / November 2013

Glenn Crooks led Rutgers to seven NCAA Tournaments in 14 seasons. The Daily Targum / File Photo / November 2013

Crooks, who won 155 games at Rutgers, led the Knights to seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Sweet 16 runs.

“I want to thank everyone at Rutgers, especially the student-athletes, for making this an unforgettable experience for me personally and professionally,” Crooks said in a statement. “It was the greatest day of my coaching career when I was hired at Rutgers in April of 2000, and these have been 14 years to cherish. My heart and rooting interests will always be with Rutgers and our women’s soccer program.”

Rutgers opens its inaugural season in the Big Ten on Aug. 22 vs Stony Brook.

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PHOTO GALLERY: R B1G Party, July 1, 2014

Celebrating Rutgers’ first day in the Big Ten:

Photo Credit: Edwin Gano / Staff Photographer Continue reading

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Ultimate frisbee team competes at nationals for first time since 1976

With the start of pool play today in Cincinnati, Ohio, of the Division I national championships, the Rutgers men’s ultimate frisbee team has the chance to do something no other club team at the University has done before.

If ‘Rutgers Machine,’ as the team calls itself, advances to the tournament finals of the 20-team competition on Monday, the Scarlet Knights will play in front of a national audience on ESPNU.

Rutgers, which hosted the first intercollegiate ultimate frisbee competition in 1972, according to ultimatefrisbeeinfo.com, competes at nationals for the first time since 1976, when it won the title.

The team qualified after going undefeated at the Metro East regional tournament held May 3-4 on Cook Campus. Rutgers Machine went 3-0 in Pool C play of the 16-team competition before winning three straight bracket playoff games, topping top-seeded Cornell, 12-11, May 4 in the finals.

But now Rutgers, the No. 3 seed at regionals, faces an uphill climb as the No. 20 at NCAAs.

“The team has been rapidly accelerating in winning ability since three months ago when we were first able to practice outside, and basically no one outside of our region expects our team to win even one game,” head coach Ari Weitzman told The Daily Targum. “Those in the know know better. Even though we are seeded 20th out of 20, we are aiming to finish in the top 8 of over 400 competitive schools in the United States and Canada.”

So far Rutgers has fallen to 9-seed Florida, 15-11, and 4-seed Oregon, 15-5 in Pool D play, with two more games on tap tomorrow morning. Rutgers Machine must beat 16-seed Carleton College and 5-seed North Carolina-Wilmington to have any chance at making the playoff bracket.

Sunday’s semifinals held at Mason High School Stadium at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., as well as Monday’s championship game scheduled for 2:30 p.m., will air on ESPN3. The title match will air again on ESPNU on Wednesday at 9 p.m.

“In order to make it that far we’ll have to play our best to make it out of pool play, then beat two of the top 12 teams in the country to even get to semis,” Weitzman said. “The good news, though, is that we have been playing our best, and our best players are as good as anyone.”

More information on the championship event can be found here.

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Five former Knights land NFL homes

One year after a program-record seven players were selected in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Rutgers football team didn’t even come close to following it up with an encore.

No graduating Scarlet Knight heard their name called May 8-10 at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan. Not even wide receiver Brandon Coleman — projected in a recent ESPN mock draft to go 79th overall in the third round — was picked across all seven rounds.

TIAN LI / ASSOCIATE PHOTO EDITOR / DECEMBER 2013

Brandon Coleman tied a school record with 20 touchdown receptions in three seasons at Rutgers. TIAN LI / ASSOCIATE PHOTO EDITOR / DECEMBER 2013

But not long after the draft’s conclusion Saturday, Coleman and four other former Knights signed unrestricted free agent deals with NFL teams, according to official team announcements and various media reports.

The 6-foot-6 Coleman, who tied Rutgers’ school record with 20 career receiving touchdowns, landed a deal with the New Orleans Saints. He’ll join the NFC’s top passing offense and All-Pro quarterback Drew Brees with the chance to earn a roster spot in training camp this summer.

Quron Pratt, who finished third on the team in receiving yards this past season, will join the Philadelphia Eagles. The Palmyra, N.J., native said March 12 at Rutgers’ Pro Day that several teams called with interest in his ability to make plays on special teams.

Other reported signings include free safety Jeremy Deering with the New England Patriots, linebacker Jamal Merrell with the Tennessee Titans and defensive end Marcus Thompson with the Miami Dolphins.

Greg Johnson, Sports Editor

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Brey goes distance to carry Knights into weekend series

With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, sophomore lefthander Howie Brey stepped on the rubber looking to end the game pitching in the first ninth inning of his career.

After inducing a fly ball out to start the inning, Brey allowed a single through the right side to put the winning run in the on-deck circle with the Rutgers baseball team leading 3-1 – another fly ball made it two outs for the Middletown, N.J., native.

Brey would then forfeit a full-count walk to University of South Florida’s Luke Borders – and that’s when the staff’s ace thought his day was over with redshirt-freshman lefthander Max Herrmann warming up in the bullpen and head coach Joe Litterio making the slow trot out to the mound. Continue reading

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Redshirt freshman finds groove behind reliable defense, flashy offense

Dramatic walk-off wins in the fourteenth inning, web-gem plays up the middle to end the game with the tying run at third and shaved heads to raise money for pediatric cancer research made up the weekend for the Rutgers baseball team’s sweep of Temple.

The Scarlet Knights wrapped up their series yesterday against the Owls in a fashion that wasn’t exactly the easiest – at least from the outset.

But, by the time redshirt freshman righthander Kevin Baxter left the game after pitching a career-high seven innings, the game was easily in the hands of Rutgers. Continue reading

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Rookie pitcher flashes before professional scouts in victory

At least 40 major league baseball scouts were in attendance to see him. Most of those scouts were the top scouts of each organization. 

Every major league team had a representative at Bainton Field today, not to see anyone from the Rutgers baseball team, but to see left hander Sean Newcomb of Hartford.

Prior to the game, all the scouts flocked to the opposing team’s bullpen to see the projected first-round draft choice warm up for the game – Newcomb has been projected by scouts to be a top-15 draft choice. Continue reading

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