By: USA TODAY High School Sports | June 2, 2017
Ray Rice is back at New Rochelle, although coach Lou DiRienzo said he never really left.
The former NFL star began his duties Thursday as a volunteer assistant coach for the New Rochelle High School football team, which started its spring workouts. Rice will serve as the running backs coach and also assist the defensive backs, DiRienzo said.
DiRienzo indicated that not much has changed in the relationship between the program and Rice, who spent most of last season around the team, including game days. He has been a staple in the school’s weight room in recent years as a workout partner and mentor for players in the program.
“Nothing has really changed,” DiRienzo said. “Somebody just put it on Twitter.”
Rice has been spent increasingly more time around the Huguenots since the Baltimore Ravens terminated his contract in 2014. Rice’s career ended abruptly after he was arrested for assault for striking his then-fianceé, Janay, who is now his wife. The couple have been spotted together frequently at New Rochelle High School sporting events.
DiRienzo said Rice will participate in team activities as often as his schedule allows. Rice has several speaking engagements that could conflict with New Rochelle’s workout schedule.
Rice has spoken to pro, college and high school teams or youth organizations often, scheduling as many as five in a month. He visited last month with rookies for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is scheduled to visit Notre Dame later this month.
Still, Rice has spent the majority of his time the last three years locally. Last year he mentored Somers running back Messiah Horne, who led his team to the first state championship in program history.
Rice will continue to be a fixture on the sidelines and in the weight room and meeting rooms at New Rochelle.
“Ray has been around with us and mentoring kids and taking kids under his wing for us,” DiRienzo said. “Now that he has more time, he’s taking more of an active role.”