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Rutgers coaching search: Lawrence Frank rumored to be candidate

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers University may look to Detroit Pistons coach Lawrence Frank to fill their vacant head coaching positon, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Rutgers fired Mike Rice earlier Wednesday after ESPN revealed practice tapes showing him being verbally and physically abusive toward players.

From Woj:

Another strong candidate for the Rutgers job could be Detroit Pistons coach Lawrence Frank, sources told Yahoo! Sports. Pernetti expressed interest with Frank before the hiring of Rice four years ago, but he decided to stay on the NBA track. Frank had significant success as the coach of the New Jersey Nets for six-plus seasons, reaching the Eastern Conference semifinals three times. He also has a collegiate background as an assistant with Marquette and Tennessee.

What's more, Frank could be open to the return to New Jersey, where his wife, Susan, has been ill. He left the Pistons for six games to be with her and his two children during the season.

Frank is serving his second season with the Pistons after signing a three-year deal in June 2011. The Pistons have gone 50-91 (.354) under his direction, including 25-50 (.333) this year and 4-17 since the All-Star break. Strictly looking at winning percentage, Frank hasn't been much more successful than his predecessor John Kuester (.348).

Frank has obviously worked with a much younger roster, but his lack of success may be reason enough for the Pistons not to stand in his way should he have mutual interest in leaving. To be fair, though, Wojnarowski reports that Rhode Island's Dan Hurley is currently Rutgers' primary target.

Last weekend, before the Rutgers job opened up, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press raised the possibility that Frank might not return to Detroit next year:

Frank has a three-year deal with an option for a fourth, but it's beginning to look dicey as to whether he will make his third season. A decision will come from owner Tom Gores at the end of the season.

"I think at the end of the year we can assess everything, " Frank said. "I think right now, everyone associated with the Pistons can't be very proud of what we're doing. I know this, there are a lot of people who want to get this right and we will get it right."

Over parts of nine NBA seasons in New Jersey and Detroit, Frank has a career 275-332 (.452) record.