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The other football

Fans of the Rutgers football and basketball teams may not necessarily be paying attention to the new coaching vacation in the men's soccer program, following the resignation of Bob Reasso, but they should be. For one thing, this hire will be the first hint at how the new athletic director Tim Pernetti will operate.

Reasso had an awful lot of success early in his tenure (does the name Alexi Lalas ring a bell?), but the soccer program had fallen into mediocrity in recent seasons. That shouldn't have happened; as with many sports, New Jersey is a hot bed for high school soccer, and too many of the top local players have been leaving the state in recent years. I know that there has been a lot of alumni discontent about the state of the men's soccer and lacrosse programs. There's sure to be a lot of speculation out there regarding the exact circumstances of what exactly went down with Reasso's departure.

For better or worse, Greg Schiano has pretty much established the blueprint for future hires at Rutgers University. New Jersey is parochial; the Rutgers community wants, no, demands a local. When a Hall of Famer like C. Vivian Stringer isn't available, that is. The strategy hasn't worked out with Fred Hill, but it seems to be so far with Scott Goodale and the wrestling team.

Reasso's critics have long coveted St. John's coach Dave Masur, a New Jersey native and Rutgers alum, so it's of little surprise that Dylan Butler of the NY Post immediately fingered Masur as the prime candidate. There has been plenty of debate over the years about whether he could be lured back to Piscataway. We saw with Chris Hill in last year's A.D. search that Rutgers alumni may not necessarily always want to return to the banks. The backup candidate is presumably Monmouth coach Robert McCourt. Butler does also mention several other candidates.

Stephen Edelson from Gannett echoes that hierarchy. Methinks that if sources are willing to tell him that Masur is on the top of the wishlist, presumably Tim must think that there's a strong possibility of pulling this off.

I don't follow soccer, but I will be closely following further developments with an eye on how the athletic department operates going forward. My intuition is that we can overhaul one program a year. Last year was wrestling, now it's soccer, and year by year, Pernetti is going to try and put his stamp on the other underperforming programs, righting the ship and putting them on the path towards excellence.