Penn State Football: Will Rutgers' Greg Schiano Succeed Joe Paterno?

Paul SalmanSenior Analyst IMay 30, 2008

There has been lots of talk on various websites and blogs such as Zombie Nation and the Phanatic Magazine, just to name a few, about Greg Schiano and a possible plan being ironed out for him to succeed Joe Paterno in 2009.

Of course, these sites are not all very credible. However, there are some credible sources within the Penn State community that have mentioned Schiano's name as a viable option to succeed Paterno.

This brings me to the debate that I have had myself, read about, and heard others discuss, about whether or not Schiano a good choice for Penn State. Here are five reasons why he is a great choice.

  • Greg Schiano is a Penn State man. In 1990, he joined the Penn State staff as graduate assistant, and later served as the defensive backfield coach there from 1991-95. It has been said that Schiano views Paterno as a mentor and idolizes him and the Penn State football program.
  • Schiano has established recruiting ties in various states. Through his brief stint as defensive coordinator for the Miami Hurricanes in 1999 and 2000, he has links to Florida which is always a great place to have recruiting ties. Now, through his successful tenure at Rutgers, he has established himself in New Jersey as well. Prior to him coaching at Rutgers, Penn State had a virtual stranglehold on New Jersey recruits. If he were to take over for Joe Paterno, that stranglehold on New Jersey would be even stronger then it once was.
  • Greg Schiano is only 42 years old. When Joe Paterno took over for Rip Engle in 1966, he was 40 years old and was the young, fiery, fresh face in the college football world. The same can be said about Schiano today. As seen across the country with the likes of Pete Carroll and Urban Meyer, younger coaches relate to high school kids better, thus attracting more talent. High school recruits want to play for these guys. Penn State needs to make sure to replace a legend with someone that kids want to play for.
  • Greg Schiano has had success at a place like Rutgers. It took Schiano a few years to establish himself as the Head Coach of Rutgers and the team performed at very low levels in 2001-2004. However, after a few years and his recruits starting to be the team leaders, Rutgers was 7-5 in 2005. In 2006, Rutgers posted double-digit wins (10-2) and was ranked in the top 25. Both were firsts since 1976. In 2007, due to the graduation of some key pieces leaving, the team dropped to 8-5, but still competed in the Big East. Basically Schiano is getting everything he can get out of a program that has not had much success in their long history, and is not a school talent is easily recruited. If he can do this at Rutgers, I am confident that at a school like Penn State, with its tradition, history of success, and recruiting ties in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and others in the region, Schiano can continue the Penn State legacy.
  • Greg Schiano would be a fresh face to the program itself coming from outside the current staff. I fear that if the university hires from within, there will be added pressure to do things Joe's way, especially if he names the successor. Of course this will be an issue regardless, but any way to keep it minimal would help. (Not to mention, the resentment others on the staff may feel if it is not them who is chosen to succeed.) In addition, Schiano is a Paterno guy as mentioned above, and would do things "The Penn State Way." However, being removed from the program for nearly 15 years helps give him a new perspective on the College Football landscape, which I think is imperative when succeeding a legend like Joe Paterno. We do not want a coach with tunnel vision and strictly know how to do things "The Penn State Way."

Lets hope a plan is in the works, and we are filled in soon and Penn State can continue is tradition and keep winning, "The Penn State Way."