Newark, NJ – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers must have been serious about finding a new coach from the college ranks.
Numerous reports earlier on Thursday indicated that Schiano was finalizing contract details with the Buccaneers, while the Newark Star-Ledger has cited a source as saying Rutgers now needs a new head coach.
Tampa Bay needed a replacement for Raheem Morris, who was fired earlier this month after the Buccaneers closed out a 4-12 season with a 10-game losing streak.
Schiano spent the past 11 seasons at Rutgers and posted a record of 68-67 at the New Jersey school. He turned around a Scarlet Knights program that had just one bowl appearance prior to his arrival into a perennial postseason contender.
Rutgers has been to bowl games in six of the past seven seasons, including a Pinstripe Bowl win over Iowa State in December that capped a 9-4 season. The Scarlet Knights have a record of 56-33 in the past seven years, with only one losing season in that span.
Schiano, who had been the longest-tenured head coach in the Big East, has minimal NFL experience. He was a defensive assistant with the Chicago Bears in 1996-97 and the club's defensive backfield coach in '98.
The 45-year-old New Jersey native was also an assistant at Penn State from 1991-95 and the defensive coordinator at Miami-Florida from 1999-2000 before taking over the moribund Rutgers program.
Things started slowly at Rutgers, as Schiano's first four teams won a combined 12 games. The 2005 squad went 7-5 and reached a bowl game, setting the stage for one of the program's best-ever seasons.
In 2006, led by future Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice, the Scarlet Knights went 11-2 and captured the school's first-ever bowl victory with a 37-10 triumph over Kansas State in the Texas Bowl. Rutgers finished 12th in the national rankings that season and Schiano was honored with numerous coach of the year honors.