Rutgers Football: Recapping the Greg Schiano Era: Job Well Done, or Unfinished?

Jayson LoveCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2012

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 30:  Rutgers Scarlet Knights head coach Greg Schiano celebrates a win over the Iowa State Cyclones in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on December 30, 2011 in the Bronx Borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Greg Schiano took over arguably America's worst football program prior to the Knights' 2001 football season.

Rutgers was coming off of a 3-8 season, and hadn't had a winning record since 1992.

Its bowl drought dated back to 1978, and Schiano promised to fix it.

After losing 20 of his first 23 games, Schiano's teams started to look competitive in 2003.

Closing its season with a 24-7 win over a 6-6 Syracuse team left hope for the future.

In '04 however, R.U. struggled, losing seven of its 11 games including a Thanksgiving day heart-breaker to UConn who went bowling in just its fourth full season of what was then known as Division 1A football.

That only further seemed to highlight Rutgers' inadequacies and cement the program as a perennial loser.

There was talk of firing Greg Schiano then. 

However, Schiano delivered on his bowl game promises in 2005, when he led the Knights to a 7-4 record, and a competitive bowl game loss to Arizona State in the Insight Bowl.


2006 was Schiano's peak as R.U.  flirted with the Big East championship, and arguably, should have received a BCS At-large bid, instead heading to the Texas Bowl.



He had serious talks about the head coaching job at Miami, but he turned them down in December of 2006.

In 2007, Schiano's Knights spent some of the year in the top 25, and went bowling again, this time heading to the now defunct International Bowl in Toronto.

Schiano almost took advantage of his hot coaching status by moving on to coach the University of Michigan, one of College football's premier jobs.

He turned UM down, and Schiano promised that he had unfinished business at Rutgers.

He promised championships, none had been delivered.

He appeared to be a man of his word, and Rutgers' fans thought he would stay to see his promises through.

He had turned down two schools that were perennial powers to stay at little Rutgers. 

It was thought that his dream job was Penn State.


He was creating his own version in Piscataway, NJ (sans scandal, hopefully anyway).

After a few years of criticism that he was unable to take the next step at Rutgers, and a down year in 2010, Schiano turned the team around in 2011. 


The team flirted with the Big East championship, and although it ultimately fell short, the team took home another bowl win in the Pinstripe Bowl.


Schiano had secured commitments from some of the nation's best high school prospects.  He was poised to welcome in the best class Rutgers had ever recruited and instead, he bolts for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers?  This is Schiano's dream job?

After failing to secure any of the championships, he seemed finally to have a team that was poised to do it, and the types of recruits that may bring the Knights to national prominence.

But, he didn't stay around to see it through.

So is it a job well done?

In some respects yes.  He did promise that the program would be built to last.  There is already a solid team returning in 2012 and should these recruits stay true to Rutgers, as Tim Pernetti stressed in his press conference today, this is built to last with the right coach poised to take this team to the next level.

But, it is unfinished. Why couldn't Greg Schiano just be patient enough to see it through? 

Was his need to coach in the NFL that pressing? 

I guess the answer is yes.