NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – That the breakdown in talks between Rutgers and Greg Schiano stirred strong emotions on social media Monday was no shocker.
What was surprising is that some of the loudest criticism of the university came from some of its former football players – including one prominent ex-Scarlet Knight who said the failure to sign Schiano “is a joke.”
Ryan Hart, Shaun O’Hara and Eric LeGrand, among other former Scarlet Knights, took to Twitter to voice their disgust that the school had not done more to sign the coach who led the program to six bowl games over a seven-year stretch (2005-11) before he parlayed that success into an NFL job.
“Yesterday’s actions leave me Disappointed and Embarrassed,” tweeted LeGrand, one of Rutgers’ most recognizable ambassadors since being paralyzed while making a tackle in 2010. “I try to represent Rutgers with the most respect I possibly can. To see how this situation was handled makes me sick. The words I preach come from the man who they said wasn’t “All-In” HAAA what a joke #KeepChoppin.”
“Keep Chopping” was a war cry for a Schiano-led team that played hard, went to bowl games, recruited top in-state talent, produced a string of NFL players and even defeated third-ranked Louisville in front of a national television audience in 2006.
The Scarlet Knights have fallen on hard times in recent years. Chris Ash, 8-32 as a head coach at Rutgers, was unceremoniously dumped the morning after a 52-0 loss to Michigan. Interim coach Nunzio Campanile has tried valiantly in his dual role of interim head coach and offensive coordinator, but only has one measly win over Liberty to show for his efforts.
The stage seemed set for a Schiano return, but two weeks of bargaining has seemingly ended with both sides at an impasse, according to the Associated Press.
AP is reporting that Schiano 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 sticking point, it seems, is that 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.
Schiano was not even mentioned in a statement the school released Sunday on its ongoing coaching search.
That left many fans calling for athletic director Pat Hobbs to be fired. And, it left many former Scarlet Knights stunned.
O’Hara, who went on to play for the New York Giants and is currently an NFL Network analyst, took the news hard – like many Rutgers fans on Twitter.
“So incredibly DISAPPOINTED, FRUSTRATED & ANGRY,” O’Hara tweeted. “After all the L’s we have endured over the years, this one CHOPS to the CORE. Anyone who was not on “BOARD” w/ hiring Schiano please see yourself OUT!! We R #TheBirthplace DAMMIT ACT LIKE IT #CFB150.”
Former quarterback Ryan Hart urged true blue Scarlet Knight fans to take action.
“#rfootball nation... for all of those asking how they can help, we need to call @RutgersU President’s office and tell them to get this deal done,” Hart tweeted. “We still have time. It’s not over yet. Our voices are being heard. Let’s help to bring Greg home.”