Less than a week after their rumored reunion fell apart, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights were able to welcome Greg Schiano back to Piscataway.
According to Keith Sargeant of NJ Advance Media, Rutgers football is set to bring back one of the winningest coaches in program history. The return of Schiano comes less than a week after hopes of a reunion fell apart due to dissolving negotiations.
Now, it appears that Schiano is set for an attempt to once again raise Rutgers from the depths of Football Bowl Subdivision proceedings.
Schiano, 53, is a native of Wycoff, NJ. His original tenure at the Rutgers helm began in 2001 during the program’s Big East days. His ledger stood at 68-67 by the time he departed in 2011. The victories are second in the Scarlet Knight record books behind the 78 of Frank R. Burns (1973-83).
Under Schiano, the Scarlet Knights rose to new heights from very humble beginnings. He took over a team that had not appeared in a bowl game since 1978 and had not had a winning season since 1992.
After three wins over his first two seasons combined, Schiano guided the Knight to seven wins in 2005, which ended with an appearance in the Insight Bowl in Phoenix. One season later, Schiano and the Knights tallied the best season in franchise history, winning a program-best 11 games and finishing 12th in the final Associated Press poll.
That historic campaign ended with a victory in the Texas Bowl over Kansas State, the Knights’ first-ever postseason win.
Over Schiano’s final five seasons, Rutgers missed bowl eligibility just once, winning each of their four other appearances. The team went 56-33 between 2006 and 2011, by far the best six-year stretch in their archive.
Notable NFL alumni to play under Schiano include Jeremy Zuttah, Gary Brackett, and Kenny Britt. Among active Schiano proteges are Devin and Jason McCourty, Mohamed Sanu, Logan Ryan, and Duron Harmon.
Schiano moved to the NFL in 2012, when he became the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers. He previously spent three years as an NFL assistant in Chicago. He would spend two years in Tampa before returning to college football in 2016 as Ohio State’s assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.
Schiano was more recently named to the latter position by the NFL’s New England Patriots last spring, but left shortly after to focus on his family.
Now part of the Big Ten, modern Rutgers football finds itself in equally dire straights as when Schiano came on board for the first time in 2001. The team wrapped up a 2-10 campaign on Saturday afternoon, falling 27-6 at Penn State. Previous head coach Chris Ash was fired in the midst of his fourth season on Sept. 29 after a 1-3 start.
Under Ash, Rutgers went 3-26 in conference play, and 8-32 overall. Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile finished out the remainder of the season as the interim head coach. Rutgers has not appeared in a postseason game since the 2015 Quick Lane Bowl under Flood.
Rumors of a Schiano reunion began to brew almost immediately after Ash’s departure. A deal was reportedly imminent, but talks were stifled after tension surfaced between Schiano and Rutgers officials. Now, it appears cooler heads have prevailed as the Scarlet Knights search for redemption after two brutal years.
Schiano is set to make his on-field rearrival to Piscataway next September when the Scarlet Knights open their 2020 season at home against Monmouth.