Greg Schiano may not be the next head coach at Tennessee but Bill Belichick knows that his friend will be a head coach again soon.
A public outcry on Sunday after reports had surfaced about Schiano, former head coach at Rutgers as well as in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, being offered the job at Tennessee. This news led to protests at the Tennessee campus in Knoxville and social media anguish from UT fans and alumni. At the center was Schiano’s presence on the coaching staff at Penn State and allegations that he was aware of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
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No evidence has ever surfaced that Schiano, now defensive coordinator at Ohio State, knew let alone was involved in a cover-up of Sandusky’s abuse of young boys connected to his charity. He was a graduate assistant at Penn State for several years prior to becoming defensive backs coach in 1991, a position he held for several seasons.
Belichick supposedly endorsed Schiano in 2012 for the Tampa Bay job, this after getting a close look at the program. The New England Patriots’ head coach’s son Steve Belichick was a lacrosse player at Rutgers and then was a long snapper for the football program for a year.
“I think Greg’s a tremendous coach, I’ve learned an awful lot from him. Had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him when he was at Rutgers – Stephen was at Rutgers. I’d go down there and the lacrosse and football program were in the same building,” Belichick said during his Monday press conference.
“Then in Tampa, the couple of years after Tampa was really even better I’d say for my relationship with him because he had those two years in the NFL. I learned an awful lot from him. He’s given me a lot – we talked about things they did in their program and things in Tampa that had a lot of relevance to what we do. So did Rutgers but it’s a little different in the NFL. He’s done a great job at Ohio State.
“He’s one of the very best coaches in our profession. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Greg and the way he runs the program and the job he does.”
At Rutgers, Schiano was credited for turning around the program, a team that was considered the worst in college football when he took over. Rutgers routinely challenged for the Big East title and consistently won bowl games under Schiano, who became the program’s head coach in 2001 after a very successful tenure as defensive coordinator at Miami.
There have been no shortage of Rutgers players in the NFL since Schiano took over Rutgers and that tradition continued after he left for the NFL following the 2011 season. Belichick said he’s seen “the love of the program” that Schiano’s Rutgers players had for the team and the loyalty for him as a head coach, even when they are in the NFL.
“He’s a great coach, I’m sure he’ll be a great head coach. He’s done an awful lot,” Belichick said. “He’s helped me in a lot of different ways. I have a lot of respect for him.”