The first thing I saw when I woke up today was this tweet. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what was going on.
I have to say that I was surprised when reports surfaced today that Rutgers Football Coach Greg Schiano was talking to the Tampa Buccaneers about their coaching vacancy. For a few years I had thought that if Schiano was to leave Rutgers it would be to follow Joe Paterno at Penn State. When the whole Penn State scandal broke I figured Schiano would stay especially in light of the strong recruiting class they were putting together. In retrospect though you have to wonder if the way things ended up going at Penn State with Paterno served as a reminder to him that no one stays in one place forever anymore.
I don’t entirely blame Schiano here. How do you say no to the NFL? There has been a lot of negativity towards the program here in New Jersey from people who aren’t football fans given his stature as the highest paid public employee in the state. The Big East mess had to play a big factor here but him leaving this close to signing day will leave a little bit of a sour taste. He has built this program up well but he has done a disservice to the Rutgers Family (or Scarlet Nation as they are beginning to call themselves) and the “State of Rutgers”. Sports are a business and you have to expect things like this but there is unfinished business here. I wonder where the school goes from here? Would offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti be able to hold the recruiting class together? Or do they turn to someone like Greg Toal who has built at a dynasty at Don Bosco Prep? Keith Sargeant, who is one of the Rutgers beat writers put together this possible short list.
What kind of a contract did Schiano end up getting? I read somewhere that he got a five year deal but the money will be interesting too. He was making north of $2.3 million at Rutgers. I was surprised to hear Adam Schefter mention that Schiano was a finalist for the Rams job too.
Rutgers fans will be angry for a while but Schiano does need to be praised for the work he did while he was here. No, we never did get that BCS game but he did leave the program in a better place then the situation that he inherited and you don’t always get that. Rutgers won’t go back into obscurity. The program has come far enough in the past decade to ensure of that. J.A Adande mentioned on ESPN’s Around the Horn today that Rutgers has 21 players in the NFL right now. Alabama has five. That is a truly remarkable stat given where this program was not that long ago. People will say that he took the easy way out or even make this about money but if Schiano was really chasing that wouldn’t he have taken the jobs at Michigan and Miami when they came his way? An NFL coaching job doesn’t give him anywhere close to the security he had at Rutgers where he could easily have stayed for the next 25 years. I really can’t fault him for wanting a NFL gig. As Atheltic Director Tim Pernetti told the media today, there are only 32 such jobs in the world. If you are a football guy how do you say no to that? You can read a transcript of Pernetti’s comments to the press here.
Just yesterday the program had posted this video online for season ticket renewals. I’ll have my seats again next year. I do want to see where this program goes from here. Hopefully the program continues to build using the building blocks Greg Schiano left here.
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