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Greg Schiano’s ties to Bill Belichick remain a positive for Rutgers



Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

Rutgers football held its annual Coaches Clinic this past Friday and Saturday. It was an opportunity for Tri-state area coaches at different levels to be able to attend coaching sessions and watch Rutgers practice. What stood out this year was that the program welcomed New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and his son Brian as keynote speakers.

“It was really special, I think, for our coaches and my staff and for all the New Jersey coaches and the New York coach that were here and the Pennsylvania coaches to hear who I believe is the best coach in the history of the game to talk football,” Schiano said.

It’s no secret that Greg Schiano has a good relationship with Belichick. It began when Steve Belichick was a four year member of the men’s lacrosse team. Bill would come to games and began speaking with Schiano on occasion. Steve then became a long snapper in his final year at Rutgers under Schiano. It’s been cultivated for years now.

Belichick has praised Schiano and the way he runs his program for years. It’s a big reason why he has brought so many Scarlet Knights into the New England organization.

A decade ago, the Patriots selected three former Rutgers players in the 2013 NFL Draft: cornerback Logan Ryan, safety Duron Harmon and linebacker Steve Beauharnais. Of course, Jason McCourty was drafted previously and went on to have one of the best careers in Patriots history before retiring this offseason. Several other former Rutgers players have played under Belichick in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

“I’d say the players he recruits and the program he runs is in a lot of ways similar to what we do,” said Belichick in 2013 after drafting the RU trio. “I would say certainly with this group, these three guys, they’re all very bright. Football is important to them. They’ve all been productive. They’re unselfish players. They work hard for the team. They do a lot of little things in the game like communication and special teams and all those types of things.”

Belichick holds Schiano in such high regard that he hired him back in 2019 before he changed his mind and ultimately came back to Rutgers.

Aside from the association with Belichick being a positive for Rutgers as a program, it also adds to Schiano’s credibility as a football coach. Being able to bring in a coaching legend to speak to local coaches at the Rutgers clinic only strengthens Schiano’s relationships with many on the recruiting trail.

“I can’t thank Coach Belichick enough and Brian Belichick as well for agreeing to do it during a busy time, getting ready for the [NFL] Draft and then they are starting their offseason program,” Schiano said. “Just a great friend and I am really, really grateful for it.”

Both Belichick and Schiano are old school coaches. It’s probably a reason they get along so well. And Schiano explained why having coaching clinics in person like Rutgers held this past weekend are so important for developing as a coach.

“That’s one thing that all this technology robs the younger coaches of in a clinic setting,” Schiano said. “When I was coming up, clinics were everything. You used to go and spend time with coaches and listen to them. But then the best part was afterward talking with all the other coaches, discussing what was presented and how you would do it, how you might change after hearing that. It’s just an exchange of information. You can do a clinic online. It’s easy and it’s great but you don’t get that feedback and that conversation and that camaraderie. I look on that back fondly as a coach.”

After getting to listen to Bill Belichick and his son Brian for an hour this past Friday, it’s likely every coach who attended will look back on the Rutgers clinic fondly as well. Schiano and the program needs to build as many positive relationships and earn as many recruiting wins as possible. Having such a strong relationship with a coaching legend and exposing coaches to his coaching philosophies first hand is a win in and of itself.

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