Rutgers softball coaches accused of intimidation, abuse

Two Rutgers softball coaches, a husband and wife, have been accused of fostering a climate of fear, intimidation and abuse on the team.

The university president said Thursday he wants an independent investigation of allegations made against softball head coach Kristen Butler and her husband Marcus Smith, a volunteer assistant. Smith has since left the program.

President Robert Barchi said in a statement that “nothing is more important than the health and safety of our students.”

NJ Advance Media reported Butler denied all the allegations. The organization was the first to report the story Wednesday.

Barchi also chided athletic director Patrick Hobbs for directing profanity at an NJ Advance Media reporter during a telephone interview about the report. Barchi adds that Hobbs has apologized to the reporter directly. Hobbs acknowledged in a statement that he “reacted inappropriately.”