It took 28 tries for Rutgers football to find the winning touch in a head coach. The Scarlet Knights hope head coach No. 29 will take them to the next level.
Rutgers announced yesterday that Kyle Flood will shed the interim head coach label and take over the team.
Flood replaces Greg Schiano, who departed to become head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has been with the program since 2005, serving as both run-game coordinator and offensive line coach.
“I think consistency is the most important thing in any program. Consistency of relationships in recruiting has allowed us to advance our recruiting every year,” Flood said during his introductory press conference. “As we go forward, consistency in coaching is going to allow our players to be trained in the same manner year after year.”
The vision of Rutgers football — offense, defense, special teams — goes forward as it is today. That doesn’t mean it stays the same. It gets better. But what the players are doing and the vision of it will be the same.”
The hiring of Flood comes after the much publicized pursuit of Mario Cristobal, the Florida International coach who spent three years on staff with Schiano and was the first choice of athletic director Tim Pernetti in the coaching search. But a deal fell through between the two sides and Pernetti was forced into a corner, needing to sign a head coach before national signing day today to preserve the program’s best recruiting class ever.
Flood served as Schiano’s assistant head coach the past four years and is highly regarded by area high school coaches. He will be called upon to build on the success of the past, including five bowl wins in the past seven years.
“I’m not here to try to be Greg Schiano, nor is my personality the same as Greg Schiano’s. So going forward, they’ll see the differences,” Flood said.
“Like I said to the team the first day, the vision is the same, and the vision is constant and consistent. That’s not going to change. Will there be certain personality things that change? Absolutely. What they are, I'll experience them as I go through this process. But it’s not about trying to change something on purpose that’s not broken.”
While Schiano built up a program from being a doormat to one that is now respected and generates national coverage, he never won a conference title during his 11 years at Rutgers and never took the team to a BCS bowl game. That responsibility now falls on Flood.
“I don’t think it is Kyle Flood as opposed to Greg Schiano,” Flood said. “I think the time is right for Rutgers to win championships.”
Follow Rutgers beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.