Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said he wants his new team to reflect many of the principles he taught at Rutgers University, which needs to replace him less than a week before high school recruits can sign to play at the school.
Schiano, 45, accepted a five-year contract with the National Football League team yesterday. Hours later, Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti named offensive line coach Kyle Flood the school’s interim head coach as a search for Schiano’s replacement begins. National signing day is Feb. 1.
Schiano said the 2012 Buccaneers will reflect the mindset that he was known for at Rutgers, one of trust, belief and accountability.
“Our team will be built around a humble, unselfish attitude of sacrifice,” Schiano said at his introductory news conference in Tampa. “It’s hard to find that in today’s world, but that’s who we’ll be.”
The Buccaneers finished 4-12 last season, losing their final 10 games.
Schiano led the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based university to its first bowl victory, its second 11-win season and its best finish in the Associated Press Poll, No. 12 in 2006. The team, which Pernetti called the “worst program in college football” before Schiano’s arrival, has won five consecutive postseason bowl games dating back to 2006, the longest active streak in the sport’s top division, according to the university.
Pernetti said on the school’s website that he has a list of coaching candidates and will find a permanent replacement “as soon as possible.”
“It would be great for incoming recruits to know who their coach is before signing day,” he said. “If it takes a little bit more time, then we will take that time.”
The list of possible Schiano successors includes Temple coach Steve Addazio, Florida International coach Mario Cristobal, a former Rutgers assistant, and former Penn State defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, who took over the program when Joe Paterno was fired in November, according to the Record newspaper of Bergen County, New Jersey.
Schiano said he was impressed by the family oriented Buccaneers front office and the team’s core of talented young players. He said previous offers to leave Rutgers had never felt right.
“I did not need to be a head coach in the National Football League today,” he said. “I really studied the team, I studied the situation, I studied the ownership, and that’s what makes me comfortable. Every time I did it I said, ‘That’s an advantage.’”
Pernetti, who played football at Rutgers and assists in the team’s recruiting, said the new coach must be able to draw high school talent from the New York-New Jersey-Connecticut region. Recruits must know that the program is the same as it was three days ago, he said.
“It is going to stand for the same things,” he said. “The core values are things that will never be sacrificed.”
Rutgers’ 2012 class is ranked No. 45 in the country by Scout.com, a recruiting website. It is the team’s highest-rated class since Schiano put together the No. 29 class in 2009.
Under Schiano, Rutgers also was the only team in football’s top division to be ranked in the top three in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s multiyear Academic Progress Report each of the last four seasons, according to the university.
“This program is built,” Pernetti said. “Those championships are ahead of us. I’ve never been more certain of that.”
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