Former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano asked for a lot in his time with the school, and the athletic director, Tim Pernetti, made sure his head coach got everything he wanted to keep one of the best college football coaches on the Rutgers sideline.
Over his 12 years, Schiano received many incentives from Rutgers, reported by Ted Sherman of NJ.com.
There are two glaring incentives on the list.
First, Rutgers gave up some of its university property to sell to Schiano so he could build a new house within walking distance of Rutgers Stadium. Not every college is willing to do that for its coach.
He also got bonuses for his players' academics—as some of you know, Rutgers is known for having the "smartest" football team in the country, or at least one of them.
He also received bonuses for getting into bowl games, and Rutgers did so quite a few times since Schiano arrived.
However, all that doesn't matter anymore.
Now, Greg Schiano is gone, off to Tampa Bay to be one of only 32 coaches every year with the opportunity to coach in the National Football League.
Who can blame him for wanting to go to the NFL? It commands the largest spotlight in the business.
But then there were promises; promises that weren't kept by Schiano.
Coming into the Rutgers program, what many say was the worst college football program at the time, he continued to tell his players to believe. And every single year after the amazing turnaround that came in 2006, fans thought, "This is our year."
He promised a Big East Championship. He even promised a National Championship. Even better, he asked Rutgers for a larger stadium, but he was never able to get it filled anywhere close to its capacity.
However, in that turnaround in 2006, he was near his goals, with a highly talented offense and a deep defense to go with it. One of the best running backs today, Ray Rice won the Big East Player of the Year Award over top players in Brian Brohm of Louisville and Steve Slaton of West Virginia.
One promise was kept: He would get Rutgers football back on the map in New Jersey.
Now, with the uncertainty of the Big East, Schiano had to take the job with Tampa Bay.
But was it smart?
Probably not, but you must respect the decision. As Eric LeGrand said, Schiano changed boys into men, and now he is going to have to change his mentality.
LeGrand was paralyzed just a couple years back after fracturing his spinal cord. Every single day, Coach Schiano made sure LeGrand was settled for the day.
LeGrand was surprised that Schiano made the move to the NFL, according to MyCentralJersey.com:
First you’re shocked but then once you talk to him you realize he had to make the best decision for himself. He has to look out for his family, and if he believes it’s the best opportunity for him, then that’s what he has to do.
All I can say is he turned me from a boy into a man. From the time I’ve been here to now, making sure I got the best doctors when I first got hurt to making sure I followed through with all my rehab just like he did when he coached me here. He’s been a father figure, and to see him go, of course it’s sad. You don’t have to agree with it, but it’s his decision and you have to respect it.
Schiano was all about family.
His family was not only his actual family, but his players and coaches too. He called them RFamily—he was always around them and always helped his players through anything and everything.
As Rutgers' Tim Pernetti tries to build his own RFamily, offensive line coach Kyle Flood's job has just gotten a little bit harder. He is now the interim head coach and will be trying to bring in what was going to be the best recruiting season in Rutgers football history.
While Pernetti is looking for a new coach to fill the shoes of Schiano, Flood has the task of bringing in two of the top 40 athletes in the country, Darius Hamilton and Devin Fuller. But with the departure of Schiano, it is less likely that those two prospects will make the decision to join Rutgers.
Rutgers has also received 17 verbal commitments and is hoping to keep every single one of them.
Obviously, Schiano's signing with the Bucs came at the worst time for Rutgers. Just days away from signing day, Schiano has left, almost blindsiding the school, even though Tim Pernetti denies that.
Schiano is gone, and you must respect his decision either way. Going to the NFL is an opportunity that not many people get to experience.
Schiano single-handedly changed Rutgers from a no-name school into a contending team.
With his leaving, Rutgers is still going to be a top college for football and academics. Rutgers will still be competing, and most of all, every single player on Rutgers will "keep choppin" until they find their goal, the National Championship.
But the way Schiano left will always leave a bittersweet taste in the mouths of many. He turned the program around, but not enough to say the Scarlet Knights are champions.
There's so much room in High Point Solution Stadium that should and could hold banners for champions. But not one did Schiano bring, although he was close.
He made Rutgers believe, and made Rutgers look foolish.
Always thankful for what Greg Schiano did for the program, I wish him the best in Tampa Bay as he reunites with offensive lineman Jeremy Zuttah.
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