Greg Schiano won’t be returning to Rutgers because the school and its former football coach were unable to come to an agreement on a deal, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Sunday.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither side wanted to make the negotiations public. Schiano, who spent 11 seasons at Rutgers before leaving for the NFL in 2012, was offered an eight-year, $32 million contract, with $25 million guaranteed, along with $7.5 million to spend on coaches and football operations staff, according to the person.
The two sides could not agree on what investments into facilities and infrastructure were needed for Rutgers to be able to compete in the Big Ten, the person said.
Rutgers released a statement Sunday on its ongoing coaching search that did not mention Schiano.
“We remain in engaged in that search with a clear focus on building a successful Big Ten Conference football program,” the university said. “It is anticipated that a new coach will be named shortly after the conclusion of the season.”
Nunzio Campanile has been the interim head coach following the firing of Chris Ash five games into his fourth season. Ash went 8-32 in three-plus seasons, including 3-26 in the Big Ten. Rutgers is 2-9 and heading for second straight winless season in the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights finish their season Saturday against No. 12 Penn State.
After Ash was fired, Schiano was immediately speculated as a candidate. Soon after school officials, led by athletic director Pat Hobbs, and Schiano’s representatives started looking into a way to bring the 53-year-old New Jersey native back to run the program, which has again fallen on hard times.
Schiano went 68-67 at Rutgers and turned the Scarlet Knights into consistent winners after years of being one of the worst major college football programs in the country. He led them to six bowl appearances in his final seven years. That success helped Rutgers land an invite to the Big Ten, and it joined the lucrative Power Five conference in 2014.
Schiano left Rutgers in 2012 to become head coach for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his tenure lasted only two years. He resurfaced at Ohio State as defensive coordinator. He had reached an agreement to become Tennessee coach in 2017, but a fan mutiny on social media led the school to rescind its offer.
Schiano left Ohio State after last season when the Buckeyes struggled on his side of the ball, and briefly took a job as an assistant with the New England Patriots earlier this year. He stepped down soon after, deciding instead to take the season off.
With so much attention focused on a possible reunion with Schiano, Rutgers hopes to attract more candidates. But now the school has burned any advantage it might have gained by getting out ahead of the rest of the market and firing Ash in late September.
Former Tennessee coach Butch Jones, currently at Alabama, has reportedly interviewed for the job. Former Michigan and UCLA assistant Jedd Fisch, who is an assistant with the Los Angeles Rams, and former Arkansas and Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema, now an assistant with the Patriots, have also drawn interest.
Florida State and Arkansas also have vacancies now and there will be plenty more in the coming weeks as college football teams complete their seasons and look toward the early signing period for recruits Dec. 18-20.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.westwoodonepodcasts.com/pods/ap-top-25-college-football-podcast/