Early Sunday afternoon, Rutgers mercifully pulled the plug on the Chris Ash era in Piscataway after three-plus seasons and just eight wins. Almost immediately, speculation turned to Greg Schiano, the head coach who made Scarlet Knights football relatively relevant earlier this century, as a potentially attractive successor.
Monday, in his first public comments since Ash’s firing, athletic director Pat Hobbs was asked directly by nj.com if Schiano is a candidate for the job. Hobbs’ response?
Anybody who can help Rutgers football be competitive and win conference championships is a candidate for this position,” Hobbs said.
The Rutgers AD declined to say Schiano’s name, but added: “I’m looking for the very best coach who will make Rutgers football competitive and compete for Big Ten championships. That’s why I came here. I want to go to a Rose Bowl. I want a coach who I believe is capable of making us competitive on the field and competing ultimately for Big Ten Conference championships.
In addition to Schiano, Butch Jones and Jim Leavitt were mentioned as potential replacements. “No,” Hobbs stated when asked if he had contacted anyone regarding the opening, before tackling that topic with a bit more depth.
“And I’ll repeat that because I know there’s been reports out there of agreements and other things,” the AD started. “I have had no conversations with anyone about the permanent position of being the head football coach at Rutgers University.”
In 11 seasons from 2001-11, Schiano went 68-67 as the head coach at Rutgers. In the seven-plus seasons since Schiano left for the NFL, the Scarlet Knights have gone 35-56; in the 17 years prior to his arrival in Piscataway, they went 67-114-2.
After leaving Rutgers, Schiano spent two decidedly unsuccessful seasons (7-9 in 2012, 4-12 in 2913) as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Schiano served as the defensive coordinator at Ohio State from 2016-18 before being replaced as part of the post-Urban Meyer staff shakeup by new OSU head coach Ryan Day.