PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, former Rutgers coach, has just one regret in his decision to leave Piscataway after 11 years. He wishes the news stayed quiet long enough for him to attend Joe Paterno’s public funeral.
Schiano spent yesterday in State College, Pa., with members of Paterno’s family, but wishes he had the opportunity to be there today before the news broke.
“I don’t think any decision was made in a vacuum,” Schiano said. “This is important to me: As this thing heated up, I really wanted to get past the memorial service. I was schedule to go out there today. Thank God that I made it there Tuesday to see Sue. I got to see Sue at the house, and I felt horrible today when I’m getting ready this morning and all of a sudden stuff is leaking out on the TV. I was getting ready to go out to State College. If there was only one thing I could change, my hope was to get it out later tonight, but that’s not how it works out sometimes.”
Schiano does not have any regrets in taking the Buccaneers job, he said, but it will be hard to leave Rutgers behind.
“I’ve had several opportunities over the years and none of them felt right,” Schiano said. “This time, this one felt right. “
Schiano spent 11 years at Rutgers after his time as Miami defensive assistant and returns to the NFL for the first time since coaching defensive backs for the Chicago Bears.
“Well, I love this place,” Schiano said. “I love Rutgers. It was 11 years of everything I had. Saying goodbye to the players was the hardest part – they’re my sons. I really feel like from the day we got here that we were going to do it the right way and build it the right way, and make it last. And I just think this program is set to go.”
In his 11 years at Rutgers, Schiano led Rutgers to its first four bowl victories in program history after it was the laughing stock of the Big East before his arrival.
Schiano is responsible for the first three first-round NFL Draft picks from Rutgers — Devin McCourty, Kenny Britt and Anthony Davis — and won Nation Coach of the Year honors in 2006.
“To come home to my home state and to do it for 11 years, I consider it an honor,” Schiano said. “I’ve had several opportunities over the years – some of them you know about, some of them you don’t know about – and none of them felt right. This time, this one felt right.”
Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti named offensive line coach Kyle Flood as the interim head coach with the search for Schiano’s replacement already underway.
“Any AD worth whatever his university pays has a list in his pocket at all times,” Pernetti said. “In my mind, and I think in a lot of people’s minds affiliated with Rutgers, I think the hope and expectation was that we would be able to keep Coach Schiano in here for a long time. At any moment, that can change and I’ve been ready for this moment since the day I walked on this campus so we have been ready. As far as the short list goes, I am not going to get into that list. Those of you who followed the men’s basketball search know that there is a specific way that the search is going to be handled.”