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Greg Schiano explains why he left Rutgers in 2012



Photo credit Dale Young-USA TODAY Sports

Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano recently sat down and did a full length interview with Adam Breneman. The podcast, “Next Up with Adam Breneman” covered a variety of topics as Schiano gave insights on his entire coaching career.

The most notable part for me was Schiano openly discussing his decision to leave Rutgers in 2012. he became the head coach of the Tampa Bay BucaanIt changed the trajectory of both his career and the future of Rutgers football.

“The National Football League was something I was not prepared for,” Schiano admitted. “I never prepared to be a head coach in the NFL. It came to me and I took it because I was afraid to be (at Rutgers).”

The reason Schiano was worried to stay at Rutgers was the conference expansion and the realization that the Big East was not going to survive.

“Quite honestly I wanted to be [at Rutgers] the rest of my career. I built a house a half-mile from here,” said Schiano. “I was going to stay here the rest of my career. But then our league fell apart.”

Schiano added, “I really felt trapped. All of a sudden, we were not going to have a league.”

With Rutgers headed to the AAC, Schiano took the job with the Bucs. His teams were just 11-21 over two seasons, ultimately getting fired after a 4-12 finish in 2013.

“I ran from something, not to something,” Schiano explained in regard to failing in the NFL. He added, “One thing I know is I’m not good if I don’t plan for stuff. The NFL is not a place to learn on the job, I can tell you that from experience.”

Once Rutgers did get invited to the Big Ten during his first season with the Bucs, the reality of the situation got to him.

“I was sitting in my office in Tampa, palm trees blowing outside the window,” Schiano said. “People would say, ‘It doesn’t get better than that,’ right? They called me from Rutgers and said, ‘Guess what? We just got invited to the Big Ten.’ I did my best to be excited for them. But I hung up the phone and literally started crying. Because that’s what I had dreamt of. I dreamt of Rutgers being in the Big Ten. But the only part of the dream that was missing was I wasn’t the head coach there.”

A little more than seven years after Rutgers was invited to the Big Ten, Schiano returned for a second tenure on the banks.

“For things to work out the way they did and for God to create a plan to have me back here. I believe it’s divine,” explained Schiano. “The things that happened for me to end up back here are almost…very unlikely, let’s call it that. I’m thrilled. I get a second chance at a place I consider home, my dream job. Now we gotta get it done.”

Rutgers is 12-22 in Schiano’s three seasons back with a 6-21 record in Big Ten play. RU did play in the Gator Bowl in his second season. The Scarlet Knights open Schiano’s fourth season of his second tenure on Labor Day against Northwestern. Rutgers is listed as early four point favorites at home against the Wildcats.

You can watch the full interview with Greg Schiano and Adam Breneman here.

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  1. RU858

    May 26, 2023 at 12:12 pm

    No secret I am not a fan of GS.

    Did Greg really think it was a good idea to say such things out loud – in front of a webcam?

    There are several other surprising remarks in the interview (regarding analytics and setting team goals are only 2 examples) that suggest Greg is a bit too complacent, out of touch.

  2. thevinman

    May 28, 2023 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks Aaron for linking this interview. While it was long it was very revealing and worth the listen. I especially liked the part where Schiano described his reaction when he was sitting in his office in Tampa and was told that Rutgers had been invited to the Big Ten. Talk about being torn. I also liked Schiano describing how his long and improbable journey to get back to being Rutgers head coach impacted him both as a person and as a coach.

    I think too many people expected miracles when he came back but they didn’t realize what an epic rebuilding process was needed to get us back to even a middle of the pack team. You can see that by the people who think Schiano is on the hot seat now or even needs to be fired.

  3. RU858

    May 30, 2023 at 12:33 am


    Mike Locksley took over a losing B1G Maryland program in 2019, has since gone to 2 bowl games, ranked in the top 50.

    Rutgers football fans would be over the moon with a winning record, bowl eligibility.

  4. Henry Rutgers

    May 30, 2023 at 7:47 am

    As always superb article and podcast. I liked Schiano when he was at RU the first time. I thought he thought he was a potential pro coach, saw the opportunity and took it. Listening to Schiano in this interview I felt like I was witnessing a communist era rewriting of history and a disingenuous set of excuses. I’m not sure I like Schiano 2.0 (as a coach, not as a person). In 1.0 we saw plenty of losses ascribed to rookie coaching, program building, and it took an excruciating amount of time to turn the program into a winner (and a little luck). Let’s not forget that Ray Rice was headed to Syracuse until they fired PP and he switched to RU. Schiano must deliver this season or resign. God did not bring Schiano back to RU. The former Motorola CEO did. I think he made the right choice. I now question Schiano’s ability to adapt to change and move with urgency in the new paradigm. In business the companies that survive and prosper over time are described as learning corporations. Does Schiano have the ability to adapt and learn or have we placed our programs future in the hands of Sciano 1.0 and given him a sheep’s coat?

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