The long search for coaches is over, and now newly named offensive coordinator Ralph Friedgen and defensive coordinator Joe Rossi will get to work for Rutgers.
Rutgers coach Kyle Flood formally announced both hires Friday night after both searches ended earlier in the week. The Scarlet Knights also announce the return of Bob Fraser. Fraser worked under the defensive coordinator title for Greg Schiano. He will coach linebackers and call plays on special teams for Flood.
"We got significantly better as a football program today,” said Flood. “All three of these coaches have proven track records as excellent tacticians and recruiters.”
Rutgers has one more coaching vacancy, but its coordinator positions are filled in time for the final official visit weekend before National Signing Day.
Friedgen is expected to coach quarterbacks, making a wide receiver coach the target for the final vacancy, sources said.
With the departure of graduate assistant Darnell Stapleton to a job at Pace, Flood must hire one position coach and one graduate assistant to complete is staff before spring practices.
Friedgen is the former long-time head coach at Maryland. He has more than 40 years of coaching experience, including a five-year stint with the San Diego Chargers that included a Super Bowl appearance.
Friedgen turned down multiple job opportunities after his dismissal from Maryland in 2010. His “coaching tree” includes Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and Penn State head coach James Franklin. Friedgen won multiple Coach of the Year honors in 2001 for its run to the Orange Bowl.
"We could not have found a better coach or person to lead our offense than Ralph,”Flood said. “His track record of success both in college and the NFL is second to none on the offensive side of the ball. He will be a tremendous addition to our Rutgers football family.”
Rossi steps into his first defensive coordinator role at the BCS level. He has defensive play-calling experience at both Maine and Thiel College.
Rossi called plays on special teams for the last two seasons at Rutgers, which led the country in blocked kicks and saw the emergence of Janarion Grant as an electric return man. Rossi served as the interim defensive coordinator for the past seven weeks after Flood fired Dave Cohen in early December.
Rutgers surrendered 494 yards of total offense, but held Notre Dame to 29 points in a New Era Pinstripe Bowl loss.
"All along we were fortunate to know we had an excellent option at defensive coordinator already in our program in Joe Rossi,” Flood said. “Joe has shown he is a tremendous teacher of the game and has been able to maximize the talent of our players. I am excited to promote one of the nation’s most promising defensive coaches.”
Fraser returns to Rutgers after two years under Schiano in the NFL.
“Bob is one of the most knowledgeable coaching minds I have been around,” Flood said. “His expertise in our Rutgers defense will be an excellent resource for our staff. We have prided ourselves in our special teams play and I look for that to continue under Bob.”