Rutgers has hired former Ohio State defensive coordinator and DB coach Chris Ash the new head coach of the football team.
The move was approved by the Board of Governors on Monday afternoon. He will be given a 5-year contract worth $2 million/year. For more on Ash's contract and the official decision check out Keith Sargeant's article here.
Ash's hire has officially ended a coaching search that lasted just above one week.
Ash will bring an immediate defensive presence to The Banks, which is exactly what Rutgers needs. Furthermore, he is defensive back guru, something Rutgers needs more than anything.
This is no doubt a risky hire because Ash has no head coaching experience. However, being only 41, he has tons of upside. As I previously wrote, he should help Rutgers regain its identity. Let's take a look at the different ways that Rutgers will change under their new head coach.
Without a doubt, Rutgers' worst position group that past 3 years has been the secondary. It was bad enough before all of the arrests and nonsense that led to half the unit being dismissed from the team. That being said, those events paved the way for 3 talented freshmen to lock up starting roles.
In 2013, Ohio State ranked 114th in passing defense. Ash was hired prior to the 2014 season in which they ranked 17th in the nation. In only season, he just about single handedly moved their pass defense up 100 spots. This is exactly the type of coach Rutgers needs to stop the bleeding on that side of the ball.
Furthermore, his scheme is absolutely perfect for the type of players Rutgers has. We boast 2 long man-to-man corners in Isaiah Wharton and Blessuan Austin. Kiy Hester is a physical safety who is a great tackler. Anthony Cioffi a ball-hawk at free safety. Ash likes to leave his corners on an island, bring one safety up in the box (Hester), and leave a center-fielder (Cioffi). Joe Rossi refused to let the corners play man and insisted on forcing them to learn complex zone coverages after being forced into action.
Ash is not know for being an elite recruiter, but will definitely provide an upgrade from what Rutgers fans were used too. The fact of the matter was that each year, the recruiting classes and number of 4-star recruits got worse. Chris Ash has an excellent reputation among recruits for both the work he does on the field and for he honesty he demonstrates on the recruiting trail. Chris should have more on the recruiting impact later in the week.
Furthermore, Ash is involved in two key recruits for Rutgers. He was the primary recruiter for current Rutgers committ Patrice Rene. Rene's status has been wavering ever since Kyle Flood was fired but Ash should be able to keep him from bolting. In addition, Ash was the primary recruiter for 4-star NJ prospect Jordan Fuller. Ohio State had been the favorite for Fuller but that could change now that Ash is with Rutgers.
Finally, Rutgers has gotten themselves back in the running for Florida DB K.J. Sails. Sails committed to Iowa, decommitted, and came out with a new list of top schools in which Rutgers was excluded. He said that with Ash headed to Rutgers, they were back in the running for his services.
Coach Ash To Rutgers that's Major !!!!— KJ Sails Jr 9⃣‼️ (@KJ2LiVE) December 6, 2015
While Ash isn't a micromanaging psycho (sorry, its true) like Greg Schiano, he is known for his no-nonsense attitude. He holds all of his players accountable and most importantly, he holds himself accountable. Everything I read about Ash says that he is an incredibly hard worker who spends countless hours bettering himself and his players.
It is noted that players aren't always in love with Ash, but that does not mean players don't like him. He is tough-love type of guy who is incredibly hard on his players. Of course, being tough on your players means you have to be equally tough on yourself, which Ash is.
I love this hire. Obsiously, this is a search firm hire since Ash was a name on NO ONE'S radar when the search began. However, this is Pat Hobbs' hire and he made moves to ensure it was a good choice. Props to him for not trying to take over the search all by himself to try to be a hero. He had people very close to the program help him and I think it turned out just fine.
This is Hobbs' first hire and first real move as athletic director. Hobbs'-- and Robert Barchi's legacy at Rutgers will be determined by the success of Chris Ash. I think it will go down as one of the better move in recent years at Rutgers.
Ash can come in and fix some major issues that have plagued this team such as the secondary, recruiting, discipline, order, focus, among other things. This is a high risk, high reward move, as they could've gone with the guaranteed "B" hire in Al Golden. Instead, they put their eggs in the Chris Ash basket. Hopefully it pays off!