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Greg Schiano Says Rutgers Has 'Meant the World' After Being Announced as HC

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 3, 2019

CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 10:  Coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights looks on against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Kenan Stadium on September 10, 2011 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina won 24-22.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Rutgers Board of Governors officially approved contract terms Tuesday for Greg Schiano's return to the program as head football coach. 

Schiano said the following after being announced as the Scarlet Knights' new head coach:

"Rutgers University and this football program have meant the world to me and my family. I arrived here in 2000 with the goal to build a program that would be a source of pride for the state of New Jersey and develop great young men. I look forward to embracing that challenge once again. This is a great opportunity for all of Rutgers to pull together to get us back to where we all know we belong. It will take everyone on this campus and in the State of Rutgers to get this done."

Athletic director Pat Hobbs shared a statement regarding the hiring:

"The next great chapter for Rutgers Football is about to begin. There are many people to thank for where we are today, particularly Coach Schiano and his team, as well as everyone here at Rutgers. They all played important roles in bringing these complex negotiations to a close. It wouldn't be appropriate to prejudge any action that the Board of Governors may take, but I believe today that Rutgers Football is on the path to greatness."

The Athletic's Bruce Feldman reported Saturday the two sides reached an agreement on an eight-year, $32 million deal. According to Feldman, the school also "promised to look into building a football-only facility."

A deal between Schiano and Rutgers initially fell apart, and NJ Advance Media's Keith Sargeant reported the program's facilities were a sticking point for the coach:

"Schiano stressed the importance of a massive facilities upgrade. Rutgers officials and Schiano agreed that a structure was needed to replace the outdated indoor practice bubble, but Schiano, according to four individuals, wasn't satisfied with Rutgers' plan to upgrade the 32-year-old Hale Center, which received a $1.65 million renovation of the weight room in 2016 and a $4 million locker-room upgrade in August thanks to a gift from [Board of Governors member Greg Brown].

"According to a term sheet obtained by NJ Advance Media, Schiano wanted a new football-only facility 'to encompass program‐related functions for dining, strength and conditioning, recruiting operations, team meeting space, and overall football operations' and 'a dedicated indoor practice facility.' In addition, the contract called for unspecified 'redevelopments to SHI Stadium.'"

Schiano spent the 2019 season without a team after Ohio State brought in Greg Mattison and Jeff Hafley as co-defensive coordinators to work under first-year head coach Ryan Day.

He was tabbed as the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator before he abruptly stepped down in March.

Schiano replaced Chris Ash as the Buckeyes' defensive coordinator and associate head coach in 2016 after Ash became Rutgers' head coach. In his three years at Ohio State, the team ranked fifth, seventh and 26th in S&P+ defense rating, according to Football Outsiders.

Schiano's coaching reputation is built largely on the success he enjoyed with Rutgers over an 11-season tenure from 2001 until 2011.

Before Schiano's arrival, the Scarlet Knights had reached one bowl game in program history.

Rutgers went 12-34 in his first four years, but Schiano rewarded the school's faith by going 7-5 and reaching the Insight Bowl in 2005. Most memorably, Rutgers upset the third-ranked Louisville Cardinals at home to help start the 2006 season 9-0 and climbed to seventh in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, which remains its highest-ever AP ranking.

The Scarlet Knights lost two of their final three regular-season games that year but beat the Kansas State Wildcats in the Texas Bowl, which started a streak of four straight bowl victories.

Schiano left after the 2011 season to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what proved to be two forgettable years. The Buccaneers went 11-21 under Schiano.

In addition to the team's poor record, Schiano received plenty of criticism for his handling of quarterback Josh Freeman, who went from a burgeoning franchise quarterback in 2010 to being released in 2013. The term "Schiano Man" also became part of the vernacular around the team after Sports Illustrated's Andrew Brandt described the culture inside the Buccaneers during the Schiano era.

Schiano's time in Tampa is likely coloring the perception around his hire at Rutgers. 

Tennessee had a deal with Schiano lined up before Volunteer fans vociferously protested the hire. The school backed off and hired Jeremy Pruitt instead.

Not all of the negativity toward Schiano was based on his record with Tampa Bay.

According to the Washington Post's Cindy Borenformer Penn State Nittany Lions assistant coach Mike McQueary testified in 2012 he told fellow Penn State assistant Tom Bradley of having witnessed Jerry Sandusky sexually abuse a boy. McQueary added that Bradley mentioned how Schiano had discussed a similar story with him in the 1990s.

Schiano denied the claim.

With his move to Rutgers, his connection to Penn State and the Sandusky scandal could become an issue once again.

In terms of his on-field accomplishments, Rutgers' rise under Schiano shouldn't be forgotten. The Scarlet Knights have fallen off significantly following his departure, which further highlights how impressive it was for him to make Rutgers a Top 10 team—if only briefly.