Greg Schiano reportedly nearing return to Rutgers to take over program

Greg Schiano appears to be the coach Rutgers wants to hire to restore the prominence the program gained over a decade ago under … Greg Schiano.

Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel reported early Sunday that Schiano has agreed in principle to return to Piscataway, N.J., to coach the Scarlet Knights (he left the program for the NFL in 2011). Financial terms were not known.

NJ.com reported Saturday night that Rutgers and Schiano were “in deep negotiations” on a contract. The talks took place after Rutgers finished its 2019 season with a 27-6 loss at Penn State. The Scarlet Knights finished 2-10 overall and 0-9 in Big Ten play. Rutgers fired Chris Ash on Sept. 29 and replaced him on an interim basis with Nunzio Campanile.

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Rutgers is 21-52 overall since joining the Big Ten in 2014 and 7-45 in conference play. It has lost 21 consecutive Big Ten games dating to 2017.

Schiano, 53, took over the Scarlet Knights the first time in 2001. His overall record was just 68-67, but he turned RU into a top-10 team in 2006. The Scarlet Knights rose to seventh in the rankings before finishing 12th in the final AP Top 25 poll.

Schiano’s time after Rutgers has not gone smoothly. He lasted just two seasons with the NFL’s Buccaneers (2012 and ’13), then coached two years at a Florida prep school before joining Urban Meyer’s staff at Ohio State in 2016. He stayed in Columbus until 2018.

Schiano knows well that “agreed in principle” doesn’t equal “done deal.” He and Tennessee had a memorandum of understanding on a $27 million contract to become the Vols’ coach in 2017. The deal was pulled after Vols fans voiced outraged that Schiano, while an assistant at Penn State, may have known about child sex abuse by former Nittany Lions defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. Schiano was never charged in connection with the abuse and has denied knowing it was taking place.

He took over as the Patriots’ defensive coordinator last March, only to step down almost immediately after, saying he needed to spend more time “with my faith and my family.”

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