Binghamton Native King Rice Is Making The Best Of His Second Chances
If you lived in the Southern Tier in the mid-80s then you knew the name King Rice. He was an all-world basketball player for Binghamton from 1983 to 1987 and led the Patriots to two state championships.
1990: King Rice Arrested
Then he was off to North Carolina to play for Dean Smith and the Tar Heels. He played with college superstars, Rick Fox and J.R. Reid. He had the world by the tail and seemed to have it all together on and off the court...until he didn't.
Things changed in May 1990, when he was arrested for destruction of public property, resisting arrest, among other things. It looked like it was over for him at Chapel Hill but he was mistaken.
Dean Smith called and asked him to come to see him before leaving town. Coach got him the help he needed and stayed with the team and helped lead them to the 1991 Final Four. It looked like the demons had been conquered.
In 1996, Rice was an assistant coach for Illinois State when he ran into a problem again. Kevin Stallings was the head coach and his phone rang when Rice had been arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Stallings believed that if it's a good person, then he is worth trying to save. Rice was given one more chance but one more misstep and he would be let go. On October 27th, 1996, he told Stallings that he would never drink again.
Rice has been sober since and he recently celebrated 25 years of sobriety. Every year on his anniversary, he calls Stallings and tells him "Thank you." So what's going on with King Rice today?
King Rice, Monmouth Head Coach
King Rice has been the head coach for Monmouth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference since 2011. The team hasn't made it to the NCAA tournament yet but it could change this year.
He's having his best season yet with wins over Pittsburgh and Cinncinati but even if the Hawks don't make the big dance, he's accomplished something bigger. Besides staying sober for over 25 years, he's also graduating his players.
36 out of the 37 players that stayed at Monmouth have graduated. The only one that hasn't is Micah Seaborn but he's a volunteer on the staff and is working on his degree right now.
Rice said that he wouldn't be where he is today without people that saw the good in him while he was making bad decisions. King Rice is a great example of how we can't give up on our young people and that everyone deserves a second chance.