It's official, and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football program is currently looking for a new head coach as Greg Schiano has accepted the head coaching position with the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This comes as a a huge shock to not only Scarlet Knights nation but almost everyone in the football world.
Even though, a few weeks back, SI.com's Peter King warned of the possibilityof Schiano joining of the NFL ranks, nobody really thought it was going to happen now -- especially, after Schiano said he wasn't interested and had turned down top-notch jobs before.
Yes, Schiano did help lead the Scarlet Knights to a Pinstripe Bowl victory over the Iowa State Cyclones, 27-13, Dec. 30, and his incoming recruiting class, ranked 44th overall by Scout.com (and was moving up) featured three four-star recruits and was a testament of what what he can and had accomplished. How, out of all the NFL assistants and other big-name college football coaches -- thanks a lot, Chip Kelly -- did the Bucs decide on Schiano?
However, that question is irrelevant now as Schiano departs and Rutgers is left with a boatload of question marks: How will this affect recruiting with National Signing Day, Feb. 1, less than a week away? Who is going to fill the huge void at head coach? What impact will this have on the returning players who bypassed the NFL (senior linebacker Kasheem Green) to return to Piscataway for a shot at a Big East title and BCS glory? How will this impact the quarterback situation with sophomore Chas Dodd, freshman Gary Nova and returnee Tom Savage? And what about blue-chip sophomore running back Savon Huggins? How will that affect his progression as a future star?
The questions go on and on, and as of right now nobody is going to have immediate answers.
What we all do know is that Schiano wasn't taking Rutgers much further than he already had and he left the program in better shape than it was in when he started there 11 seasons ago. So, yes this is a surprise but to most people money and power talks -- haven't college football fans learned that lesson by now?
As for the Big East Conference, which is already reeling from the loss of Syracuse University, the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University, this is also a big blow. Currently, Doug Marrone of Syracuse, is the league's longest tenured head coach as he enters his fourth year. Even more shocking is the fact that Boise State University's Chris Petersen, who will join the conference in 2013, will be the only head coach in the league with an identity and a successful track record. Come 2015, this league, as a football conference, will have no orginal ties to a solid history .
In the end, the next step in Schiano's career is a big blow to not only Rutgers -- unless the school finds a solid replacement -- but Northeast football overall. Yes, you may look at his below .500 record over his 11 seasons with Rutgers as failure but those that know football, especially Scarlet Knights football, understand that this could be a loss that sets back college football at Rutgers and the east region for awhile.
Schiano Resume Notes:
- Before hiring Schiano, Rutgers had reached the postseason just once in its 135-year history.
- In 11 seasons, Schiano helped the Scarlet Knights earn six bowl bids and collect a record of 5-1.
- In 2006, Schiano earned the Big East Coach of the Year honor and helped the Scarlet Knights earn the program's first top 10 ranking.
- Schiano's final overall record at Rutgers was 68-67, which featured six winning seasons.