Distinguished Alumnus Eddie Jordan Led Rutgers Basketball to ’76 Final Four, Has Served for 30+ Years as College and Pro Coach
Eddie Jordan, named in 2011 as a Livingston College Distinguished Alumnus, has led basketball teams on the court, and he’s been a coach for more than 30 years.
As of 2019 he is an assistant coach with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
His careers as both a college player and a college coach began at Rutgers. He returned to Rutgers as the head coach of men’s basketball from 2013 to 2016.
Jordan attended Rutgers University’s Livingston College from 1973 to 1977 but didn’t graduate at that time. He completed his bachelor’s studies at Rutgers in 2015, with a degree from the School of Management and Labor Relations.
Rutgers University also has honored Jordan with induction into both the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2004.
When Jordan took to the basketball court in the 1970s, the College Avenue Gym shook with cheers of “Eddie, Eddie,” sparking a wave of enthusiasm and school spirit that captivated the state.
He responded in spectacular fashion, scoring 1,632 points and setting all-time Rutgers records with 585 assists and 220 steals. He led the 1975–76 undefeated basketball team to the NCAA Final Four. (See articles from Rutgers Athletics and from . In May 2016, NJ Advance Media, publisher of The Star-Ledger, placed Jordan at number 17 in its list of “the 50 greatest athletes in Rutgers history.”)
He was drafted into the NBA in 1977 by the Cleveland Cavaliers and acquired by the New Jersey Nets midway through his rookie year. As a Net, he led the league in total steals in 1978–79 and was second in total steals in 1979–80.
He joined the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980, and earned a place on the 1982 World Championship squad. In his seven-year career, he averaged 8.1 points, 3.8 assists, and steals per game.
His coaching career began at Rutgers and included a number of positions in both collegiate and professional basketball. He spent four years as lead assistant coach of the Nets, guiding them to consecutive Eastern Conference championships in 2002 and 2003.
In 2003, the Washington Wizards named Jordan head coach, a position he held through 2008. Jordan led the Wizards to four straight playoff appearances, which includes the team’s first postseason series win since 1982.
Jordan returned to Rutgers in 2013 with an NBA Championship ring and with 28 seasons of coaching experience, including eight at the collegiate level and 19 in the NBA. His first day as head coach was documented in the video on this page (or open the video in a new window.)
At the same time, “Quietly, amid all of the noise about the controversial hiring of his new boss, athletic director Julie Hermann, men’s basketball coach Eddie Jordan was focused on his own tasks,” including studying to finish his bachelor’s degree he started to earn in 1973 at Rutgers’ Livingston College, ESPN’s Andy Katz reported.
Jordan eventually earned his bachelor’s degree in 2015.
Originally posted May 2, 2013
Revised January 3, 2021