There are few sure things in coaching searches, but Rutgers apparently feels former coach Greg Schiano is one of them. To get him, though, the university may have to shell out more money for resources than it perhaps anticipated.
Steve Politi of NJ.com and Mark Schlabach of ESPN reported that Schiano met with Rutgers officials on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, about returning to coach the Scarlet Knights. NJ.com specified that those officials included athletic director Patrick Hobbs and booster Greg Brown. The meeting and the initial belief was that a deal "could potentially come by Wednesday."
As of Wednesday -- the 150th anniversary of the first college football game featuring Rutgers and Princeton -- no announcement (or report of a hiring) had been made. The reason could have been that Schiano reportedly had a hefty list of demands, including a new indoor facility, other facility upgrades and a hefty increase in salaries for assistant coaches.
NJ.com went into further detail:
Schiano is believed to want significant improvements to the football infrastructure in Piscataway, including an indoor practice facility that is a common recruiting tool on every rival Big Ten campus and would likely move the team out the existing headquarters at the Hale Center.
It is likely that any project of that magnitude would need high-level university approval before it can be included in a contract with the coach. The next football coach's contract will need Board of Governors approval, and the university would presumably need to call for a "special meeting" to approve any deal.
However, NJ.com reported on Friday that the university was now prepared to meet Schiano's requirements. That would put Rutgers one step closer to hiring back its most successful coach in history. "Rutgers and Schiano have not finalized a reunion, the three persons said, but it is believed only a last-minute snag or a change of heart by the coach himself could derail the anticipated hire," the report states.
For Rutgers, this is the price tag of getting their guy -- assuming he wants the job, though he probably would not lay out his bargaining chips if he was completely closed off to the idea of returning to his former stomping grounds. Schiano went 68-67 in 11 seasons at Rutgers from 2001-11, bringing the program levels of sustained success as a bowl contender that it had not seen previously and certainly has not enjoyed since.
The key piece of information here is that Rutgers has not yet fully received a full share of Big Ten revenue sharing. That's not expected to come until 2027, though it is rising considerably each year. Still, to give Schiano the things he reportedly wants, the university is going to have to drum up the money somehow and it's already constructed other athletic facilities.
There's no denying that Rutgers wants Schiano, and it's completely understandable. Schiano's desire to have Rutgers reinvest into its athletic program makes sense, too, given the program is now in the Big Ten. Facilities arms races never stop. Recruiting is the first step to winning and Rutgers needs to stay competitive to keep in-state players. A bigger pool for assistant coaches also means more incentive for them to stay and develop that talent.
Rutgers appears to be all-in with Schiano, though there were other candidates for the job. Former Tennessee coach Butch Jones also reportedly interviewed. But whether Schiano returns to Rutgers probably falls on whether the university feels it can afford him.