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Greg Schiano - Then and Now

While Greg Schiano’s second stint at Rutgers is different for many reasons, his personal growth has been a catalyst for the program’s progress so far.

2021 Big Ten Football Media Day Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

It was the infancy days of social media and Greg Schiano was in his first stint as head coach of the Scarlet Knights. Soon it became apparent that Bob Mulcahy made the right choice. The culture at Rutgers changed overnight as discipline, order and competitive football came to rule the day.

By 2005, Rutgers made it to the Insight Bowl giving Arizona State all it could handle before falling 45-40. This was followed by five more bowl games. In all Rutgers went to six bowl games under Schiano, compiling a record of 5-1 in bowl games.

But with success came heightened expectations and alumni and fans wanted more. In hushed tones and on internet message boards, people started looking for the warts, real and imagined. A common sentiment was that Greg Schiano had a serious flaw; that being he was stubborn and a control freak. As rumors surfaced that Schiano was being approached by the folks at Ann Arbor and Coral Gables, the whispers grew louder.

The fears of Schiano leaving the Banks became a reality when on January 26, 2012, Schiano was hired to right the sinking ship that was the Tampa Bay Bucaneers. For most Rutgers fans, this hire came out of nowhere and at the most inopportune time as it was announced just a few days prior to National Signing Day. But upon reflection, many fans understood the move to NFL much more so than if Schiano had gone back to the University of Miami or to Michigan.

The honeymoon period in Tampa Bay was a short one highlighted by the second game of the season, when in a loss to the Giants, Schiano instructed his players to dive over the Giants offensive linemen in the traditional quarterback taking a knee in the waning seconds of a Giants victory. This infuriated the Giants and Tom Coughlin and was widely perceived as bush league and amateurish. Schiano was seen as autocratic and treating grown men as children, This came out in the open in an article by Mike Silver, Greg Schiano loses Tampa Bay Buccaneers with autocratic style.

Schiano was fired on December 30, 2013, by the Bucs and subsequently joined Urban Meyer’s Ohio State staff in 2016. Schiano was hired as defensive coordinator/associate head coach replacing Chris Ash, a name Rutgers fans know all too well. After Meyer left Ohio State and Ryan Day began to build his own staff, Schiano eventually moved on but not before being named Big Ten recruiter of the year by 247 Sports in 2018.

In Schiano’s second stint at Rutgers, clearly, he has learned from his past experiences and has matured as a coach. This has been evident from his introductory press conference. The intensity is still there but it is more controlled and in check. There is a quiet confidence that says-----I know something that you don’t. But it is not just Schiano’s demeanor. He has taken the lessons learned in Tampa and Columbus and the Rutgers football program and the fanbase are the benefactors.

At his core Schiano is a teacher and a molder of young men. He used Ohio State to refine his philosophy and his approach to recruiting and did what it took to bring in coaches who can recruit such as Fran Brown. It is no accident that Rutgers recruiting rankings have made a quantum leap in the past two years. The demanding style is still there. The unambiguous belief in doing things the right way has always and is still very prevalent. But with the passing of years has come maturity and it appears that Greg Schiano has addressed and dealt with his demons. But above all, this is a good man and Rutgers Nation is fortunate to have him.