NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Rutgers fans who went to bed last night with the bitter taste of yet another loss are waking up to the news that Greg Schiano will be returning to the Banks of the Old Raritan.
The university has announced that there will be a special meeting of the Board of Governors on Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Winants Hall and the only item on the agenda is "the consideration and approval of an employment contract for the Heat Football Coach in the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick."
It's a stunning turn events considering that talks between the coach that led the football team to six bowl game appearances over a seven-year stretch starting in 2005 and the university seemed to have broken off just days ago.
The two sides seemed to return to the bargaining table after a loud outcry across social media from angry fans who view Schiano as the only coach who can make recruiting inroads in New Jersey, assembled a top-notch staff and return Rutgers to the days when it was ranked even briefly in the top 25 polls.
In fact, athletic director Pat Hobbs, who took the brunt of the fans' frustration, issued a statement trumpeting that "the next great chapter for Rutgers Football is about to begin.
"There are many people to thank for where we are today, particularly Coach Schiano and his team, as well as everyone here at Rutgers," said Hobbs in the release. "They all played important roles in bringing these complex negotiations to a close. It wouldn’t be appropriate to prejudge any action that the Board of Governors may take, but I believe today that Rutgers Football is on the path to greatness."
Before parlaying his success at Rutgers into an NFL job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Schiano turned around a moribund program. The key was Schiano's ability to keep top-ranked talent such as offensive lineman Anthony Davis (Piscataway), quarterback Mike Teel (Don Bosco Prep), quarterback Gary Nova (Don Bosco Prep) and Khaseem Greene (Elizabeth) from being lured away by out-of-state schools.
Under Schiano, the once flounder Scarlet Knights found themselves beating the likes of Syracuse and Pittsburgh. The biggest win of his tenure came when Rutgers upset then No. 3-ranked Louisville on a nationally televised game. Later that year, he led the team to its first bowl game victory in the Texas Bowl.
Competing in the Big East was one thing, but during his absence, Rutgers has joined the Big Ten. Whether Schiano can assemble the talent needed to match the likes of Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State remains to be seen.
The task is made all that much more difficult considering that several prominent players have entered the NCAA's transfer portal, including running back Raheem Blackshear, quarterback Artur Sitkowski and tight end Daevon Robinson
Rutgers concluded its season with a 2-10 record after a 27-6 loss to Penn State. The Scarlet Knights put on a valiant performance in what was Nunzio Campanile's final game as interim coach. He took over when Chris Ash was fired following Rutgers' 52-0 loss to Michigan on Sept. 28.