He’s back! It was announced on Thursday that former Rutgers deputy director of athletics Kevin MacConnell, who worked for over 25 years in the department previously, has returned as chief of staff under Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano. It’s another sign that football under Schiano is now being run like a big time program. With the support staff expected to grow in volume under Schiano, making a strategic hire such as this make a lot of sense.
MacConnell is a well respected and multi-talented administrator who was in the role of deputy director for his last 7 years at Rutgers. He left with Schiano in 2012 to be his director of football operations with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during his two seasons there. In addition, MacConnell worked in various capacities at Rutgers previously including public and community relations, marketing, promotions, corporate sponsorship, fundraising, ticket sales, event management and operations, team travel, radio and television.
”Kevin will be an integral part of our football program,” said Schiano. “He provided great support and leadership for our program in the past and we are excited to welcome Kevin and his family back to Rutgers.”
This is a smart hire by Schiano, as he aligns himself with a trusted and proven administrator that will help him hit the ground running even more so in his second stint as head coach at Rutgers. MacConnell has a great reputation and is well versed in media relations as well as operations overall, but obviously at Rutgers specifically. He is also a Rutgers graduate.
”Rutgers is a special place and I am glad to be back home,” said MacConnell. “I appreciate the opportunity that coach Schiano has once again provided me. I have spent 30 years of my life ‘On the Banks’ and I am excited to work with everyone at Rutgers.”
Schiano continues to build his staff methodically and now has MacConnell back in the fold in a key role. Another trusted person with a long history with Schiano, Bob Fraser, is expected to return as an assistant coach soon now that the New England Patriots season is over. Fraser went to the Patriots once Schiano was hired there as DC and worked for him at various stops, including as the former defensive coordinator at Rutgers.
In addition, Schiano hired Andrew Aurich earlier this week as offensive line coach and recently Tiquan Underwood as wide receivers coach. Both also have a long history with Schiano, as Aurich worked for him at Rutgers and Tampa Bay, while Underwood was a productive player under Schiano as well. The rest of the coaching staff as of now includes Sean Gleeson, Fran Brown, Jim Panagos, Augie Hoffman, and Nunzio Campanile. The status of Kolby Smith, the running backs coach last season has not been determined as of yet, although he remains with the program for now.
The biggest position to still fill is the role of defensive coordinator, with former Rutgers player and assistant Anthony Campanile, brother of current assistant Nunzio Campanile, considered to be a favorite for the position.
One of the strengths of Schiano’s candidacy during the coaching search was his intimate knowledge of Rutgers, the strong relationships he has formed over the years and his ability to formulate a detailed plan as to what was necessary in order to rebuild the football program. His hiring of MacConnell reinforces that thought and Schiano continues to hit the mark on assembling what is a deep and talented staff, both on and off the field.