Piscataway - The day most fans and supporters of Rutgers football had hoped for finally happened. Greg Schiano was formally introduced by Rutgers as the next head coach of the program. President Robert Barchi, Governor Phil Murphy, Athletic Director Pat Hobbs and Schiano all spoke during this celebratory event. Here are some key moments and takeaways from the hour long press conference, followed by video of all the speeches and Q&A session with the media at the end of this article.
- Governor Murphy was clearly a galvanizing force in Rutgers and Schiano ultimately entering this second marriage. His enthusiasm and passion for Rutgers University and the football program in his speech at the beginning of the press conference was truly something. Schiano later said how “it’s incredible and it’s going to be one of the reasons that this thing goes the way we all know it’s going to go.” It’s simply not normal to have the Governor of the state giving such strong public support like this, but at the same time it’s an incredible thing for Rutgers to have such a strong advocate in the state house. It’s reasonable to expect that Rutgers will have his support and involvement when some form of help is needed with new facilities in the future.
- Schiano said “shoulder to shoulder” near the start of his address when speaking of his relationship with athletic director Pat Hobbs and said “we are going to make this thing special and I can’t wait to do it with you.” Hobbs spoke about the process of hiring Schiano before coach stepped to the podium and praised his experience and ability to take Rutgers to a better place a second time. It’s fair to still wonder how the two will work together long term, but both men made a serious effort to get things off on the right foot in this public forum. The potential for a tremendous partnership is there and today gave hope that it is possible.
- While Schiano will without a doubt explore every avenue to add talent to this roster, whether it’s in the current and following recruiting cycles, transfer portal and JUCO ranks, but he went out of his way to praise the current players near the start of his address. He said “I want to thank first off, our players. Because I had my phone, I was at my twins’ game or I was at Joey’s game every weekend this fall and I had my phone watching the Rutgers games. So I’d be watching the Rutgers games and watching the kids. What I saw was a group of kids that were in a very tough situation continue to get better and better. That doesn’t happen by accident.” Schiano knows he needs as many current players to buy-in to his culture as soon as possible, but his comments seemed genuine. He also praised Nunzio Campanile, saying he kept team fighting and that he will be a head coach someday. It’s been confirmed Nunzio will have a spot on his coaching staff in some capacity, but it hasn’t been publicly stated as to what his role will be. It’s likely it hasn’t been determined to give Schiano flexibility in filling out the rest of his staff. However, it’s clear Nunzio staying will be key for Schiano in bridging the gap in this transition and help the players that do ultimately stay go all in on the future ahead.
- As someone in the room said after the press conference was over, the difference between former head coach Chris Ash and Greg Schiano is “Knight and Day”. The charisma that Schiano has and the confidence that he projects is something that this program has sorely needed. He carried a true presence at the podium and his ability to generate excitement with the fans, the entire Rutgers community and entire state of New Jersey will be an asset in moving this program forward. As someone else said, “it was like having Bruce Springsteen in the building”. Schiano is going to build the “state of Rutgers” brick by brick and he has a ton of momentum behind him at the start, which is different than in his first tenure.
- Time will tell, but Schiano seemed like a man and coach who has put a lot of thought into his first tenure at Rutgers, what he has learned along the way in his other experiences since he left, and how he plans to apply those lessons this time around seemed geniune. Adaptability is something I’ve stressed as a must for Schiano to be successful in this run and he touched on that. One specific point he made was wanting to stay more focused on the big picture and ultimate goal of making the program successful, while allowing his staff room to do their jobs. He touched on the importance of hiring the most qualified coaches he can find. I think while he will have some potential rising stars so to speak on the staff, he will focus on having as experienced a staff as possible. While Schiano was known as the ultimate micromanager in his first tenure, he gave the impression that he will take somewhat of a different approach this time around and surrounding himself with as many veteran coaches who have been successful before will certainly help that mindset.
Plenty more to come with additional news and takes from today, including Schiano’s impassioned plea to fans, but here is video of the the press conference in full.