Piscataway, NJ – Finally, hope has been restored back to Rutgers football. Former head coach, and New Jersey native, Greg Schiano is back and ready to move Rutgers from the ground up.
Schiano originally became Rutgers’ head coach all the way back in 2001. During his first stint as head coach, there is no other way to describe it as successful. During his ten year reign, he put up some eye-opening numbers, to say the least. Schiano had a career winning record at Rutgers, and notably went 56-33 in his last seven years at the school, which seems to be unimaginable today. Not to mention, Schiano achieved three seasons consisting of nine wins, including an 11-2 record where they convincingly knocked off Kansas State 37-10 in the Texas Bowl. During this prosperous season in 2006, Rutgers peaked at #7 in the AP poll, and finished at #12, which are both the best in program history.
Adding to Schiano’s resume, he also coached and developed 83 players who would end up receiving NFL contracts. Notable players that he coached were the McCourty brothers and Mohamed Sanu. Most importantly, Schiano’s best achievement was winning National Coach of the Year in 2006.
It all went downhill went Schiano left Rutgers. Two coaches filled up the head coaching spot at RU, when Schiano wasn’t involved with the program. Kyle Flood took over after Schiano’s departure, and still ended up having a career record at RU at 27-24. Flood started off strong when he still had Coach Schiano’s recruits, but Rutgers’s record dropped over time. Chris Ash was the most recent coach, from 2016-2019, and had an embarrassing career record: 8-32. When Schiano was away, he was the Buccaneers’ Head Coach in the NFL, and coached various defensive positions at Ohio State. With only one winning record since 2013, Schiano’s comeback couldn’t have come at a better time. If the program stayed the way it has been over the last few years, it may have been in serious jeopardy.
As a fellow New Jersey native, and someone has been to Rutgers numerous times – including tournaments at their practice fields – it is safe to say that these facilities are everything but attractive. If you are a highly ranked football recruit coming out of North Jersey, most of the time, Rutgers wouldn’t even be considered in your recruitment. Instead, most highly ranked recruits end up going to schools such as Syracuse, Penn State, and Michigan.
Today in recruiting, facilities are everything; this is where you spend most of your time in college. Nobody knows this issue at Rutgers more than Schiano. Not only does Schiano want to renovate facilities for the better, he also wants to pay assistant coaches more money, for the simple reason of getting better surrounding coaches on campus, and being able to develop talent and recruit. Schiano grew up in Wyckoff, New Jersey which is in the heart of North Jersey. North Jersey has emerged as a hotbed for football. Specifically home to schools such as Don Bosco Prep (Jabrill Peppers – New York Giants), Saint Joseph’s Regional (McCourty Brothers – New England Patriots), Bergen Catholic (Brian Cushing – All-time Texans leading tackler), and Saint Peter’s Prep (Jon Hilliman- New York Giants), this area is loaded, and Schiano has a feel for the area. With better facilities, and the ability to own New Jersey’s recruiting, Greg Schiano is going to make Rutgers relevant again.
(Photo Credit: nj.com)