Rutgers' Greg Schiano Introductory Press-Conference 12/4/19
COURTESY OF RUTGERS ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT
DR. ROBERT BARCHI: Well, thank you so much. It is a pleasure for me to be here on what I think is a really auspicious occasion for Rutgers, and I must say, I can't remember more excitement in a press room. Well, maybe I can eight years ago but not in recent history. I can't remember ever an occasion where I've seen more excitement from our fans and our alumni and our supporters than I have in regard to this particular event.
It's entirely fitting that as we end the celebration of the birth of college football, 150 years ago, right here at Rutgers, that we are also making an announcement like this, and it's fitting in the year that we celebrate the centennial of Paul Robeson, one of our greatest football players, that we welcome back to the Banks one of the greatest football coaches that we've ever had as we make our next step in a resurgence towards national level competition and take our rightful place at the top of the Big Ten.
Greg Schiano had so many big moments during the 11 years he served here at Rutgers in the beginning of his career: Our first college bowl game, pandemonium in Piscataway, his heroic efforts to support Eric LeGrand and his family, our year as No. 1 in the country in our academic performance and progress rate.
So Greg, it is just such a pleasure to have you back at Rutgers, and we know that this is going to be a tremendous time for us. It represents a quantum step forward.
We talk about incremental progress at Rutgers. Everything we do is built on what we've done before, but every once in a while you take a step that's more than just incremental. You take a step that makes a statement. You take a step that is going somewhere much further than where we have been and this marks one of those occasions. I reckon this to be one of the biggest steps forward that we are making in terms of our intercollegiate football program and I'm delighted to be here as part of Rutgers to welcome Greg Schiano back.
I want to thank everyone who has been involved in this search. It's been a stressful process for everyone involved. It's taken a tremendous amount of time from Greg Brown, the chairman of our governing boards, athletics committee and from Pat Hobbs. And I really want to publicly applaud Pat Hobbs for what has been just a tireless effort, or maybe I should say exhausting effort, and what he has done as our athletics director. He's done so many things to make Rutgers Athletics and Rutgers Athletics facility truly Big Ten worthy, so thank you very much, Pat.
Now it's my honor to introduce a leader who has always been this Rutgers corner and supported us in so many ways since he took office and joins me in my optimism for Rutgers football, an individual who is my friend and colleague and that's our governor, Phil Murphy.
GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY: Thank you all. Good morning. It is a real honor for me to be here alongside President Bob Barchi, thank you for your gracious words; athletic director Pat Hobbs; Greg Brown representing the Board of Governors.
I'm extraordinarily pleased to join everyone here to welcome coach Greg Schiano back to the Banks of the Old Raritan, back to the university that gave him his start in collegiate coaching and back to the state that he calls home.
I also want to give a shout-out to the elected officials, the dignitaries, the members of the Rutgers family with us today: Eric LeGrand, in particular, great to see you as always, my friend.
And Greg, like any great leader, it takes a village so to his family, his wife, Christy is here, his son Joe and also their other children, John, Matt, Katie, his mom and dad. To each of you, great to have you with us as well.
We all came together and we are all here today under a common belief that a successful Big Ten football program will be a tremendous source of tried for Rutgers University. Rutgers University in turn is a tremendous source of pride for our entire state, and this is truly a unifying moment. We know a successful program will not only attract more top student athletes to Rutgers University, but it will attract more students to Rutgers University and with it, more people to New Jersey as a whole.
Rutgers also has some tremendous and generous boosters, and we also know very well that they are not afraid to share their opinions, and I know that many of them are eager to be part of building a stronger foundation for this program and this university's future.
I've had the opportunity to talk with Coach Schiano multiple times over the past weeks. I would not have been as involved in this process unless I, too, was convinced that Coach Schiano is the right man, both for this job and for Rutgers University.
Through our talks, Coach Schiano and I both found we are born under a similar star. We both know that everything Rutgers needs, not just to be competitive, but to contend in the Big Ten, is right here in New Jersey. Strong, in-state recruiting was the hallmark of the first Schiano era at Rutgers, and I know it will be the hallmark of this program once again.
New Jersey's high schools have long been renowned for producing some of the best college football student athletes in the nation, and I know we now have a better chance again to have the best football players in New Jersey seriously consider Rutgers and keep them here at home.
Likewise, we have the very best public schools in the country, literally No. 1, and I know even more of our graduates will have their eyes opened to the possibilities of a Rutgers education. And along with them, students and student athletes from across the country, will now look at Rutgers knowing that this university will be able to compete at every level with any other school in the Big Ten or any other major conference with strong leadership, both on the field and in the classrooms.
This university already stands with the very best in the entire nation in terms of academics. It is one of America's great public teaching and research universities. We want students to know that Rutgers also stands with the very best in providing a high-quality, overall college experience.
If my math is right, 19 years and three days ago in coming off a series of sub-par seasons, Rutgers turned to a jersey product, Greg Schiano, to turn the program around and reignite pride in Scarlet Knights football. He said two simple words which set the tone for the decade to tomorrow: It's time. Once again, faced with the challenge to turn around a football program and reignite Scarlet Knight pride; it's time. A new era of Rutgers Football and a new era of national prominence for Rutgers begins today.
There's already a buzz about Rutgers that hasn't been here for a long time. Today is a great capstone to the celebration as President Barchi said, of the 150th year of college football, a tradition that began right here at Rutgers University and like countless Scarlet Knight fans, I cannot wait for the opening kickoff of the 2020 season. It's time. Thank you.
PAT HOBBS: Good morning, everyone. First, I want to thank Dr. Barchi for your leadership here at this university. I know this is your last year, and we've benefited in so many ways from your leadership. I want to thank you for your kind words.
It has been a privilege to serve here as the athletic director at Rutgers, and I will continue to work hard every day to make sure that we have a Rutgers Athletics program that this university and this state can be proud of, so thank you.
Saturday night, actually, after a long, long couple of days of back and forth negotiation, we DocuSigned our agreement I think shortly before midnight and that was the first time I realized that was my work anniversary. It was the same date that I had been hired four years earlier. So Coach, you and I share a work anniversary. We'll have to figure out what to get each other every year. Maybe we'll just go to dinner and we'll talk about the regular season, and in the not-too-distant future, I think we'll be sitting there talking about our bowl possibilities, but we have that in common already.
Governor, you honor us with your presence today. You are the official First Fan of Rutgers Athletics and Rutgers University, and Tammy is the official First Lady. I know Thursday night you're going to join us for our women's basketball game at the RAC, and hope everybody will be there.
I want you to put one more date on your calendar: September 5th, Saturday September 5th, we play Monmouth University and Coach Greg Schiano is going to be leading the team out of the tunnel, and everybody should be there that day.
Thank you, Governor.
This is a great, historic day for Rutgers University. We welcome Coach Greg Schiano back to the Banks, and his family. As Dr. Barchi said what a fitting way to cap off our 150th anniversary of the birth of college football. Before introducing Coach, there are some people I think need to be thanked.
First, our student athletes, our football team. In the face of -- and many of them, there are about 50 people upstairs watching this. I know quite a few of our players are up there, as well, and I want to say to them, thank you. They represented our university as great ambassadors. They never stopped working. They never stopped playing hard. They deserve our appreciation and they will be a strong foundation on which Coach Schiano will build our program.
Next, Interim Coach Nunzio Campanile, I think he's in the room here, Coach Campanile, he gave it his all every day and we saw his effect on the team each passing week, even if it wasn't reflected in the final score. In the last game, we owned time of possession, we out-gained them and we had more first downs than the No. 10 team in the country, Penn State. A play here and a play there.
Nunzio, thank you. I want to thank your wife, Heather, and your boys, Michael and James, as well. You are remarkable family, and I'm delighted that you are going to be on Coach Schiano's staff.
Greg Brown, chairman of our committee on intercollegiate athletics. Greg, let's promise each other we will never go through anything like this again. You and I have been in the foxhole every day for weeks with unrelenting incoming. I'm so glad you could be here today. You were essential to this process. We were shoulder-to-shoulder as we've been since I got here, and Coach Schiano and I are incredibly fortunate that you will be chairing the committee on intercollegiate athletics for the next five years. We've got a lot of work to do together.
The three of us are going to celebrate a lot in the years ahead, but I would also be remiss if I didn't have a huge shout-out to your wife Anna Brown, one of most passionate and giving people around Rutgers University, and I know you're probably watching. Love your passion. Loved your support through all of this. Thank you, Anna.
Our board chairman, Mark Angelson, and our Board of Governors, thank you. You are committed to success in the Big Ten, both academically and athletically, and you've given us the resources to succeed. That should be very apparent to everyone. We will not let you down.
And I'm sorry, but I'm a lawyer, so I'm going to thank the lawyers. Our counsel, our general counsel, John Hoffman, and his associate general counsel, Alex Perez, have been fantastic throughout the process, but nowhere was that more true than this weekend. They worked with me throughout the weekend so that we can have this day today. Their families gave up their Thanksgiving so we could do this. They are smart. They are talented. They are hard-working lawyers. They serve this university incredibly well. John, Alex, thank you.
Our search firm Ventura Partners and its principal, Chad Chatlos, through every up and down, twist and turn, Chad stayed positive. He had the trust of everyone and he served a critical role throughout. Chad, I'm pretty sure that the volleyball search you're going to do for us now is going to be a little bit easier.
And to all our loyal fans, alumni and supporters, who displayed their passion throughout this process, sometimes quite colorfully, it is New Jersey after all, thank you. Your enthusiasm and your passion has been rewarded.
Please indulge me in one final thank you before I introduce Coach. I love what I do. I truly love what I do here at Rutgers University. The search has been hard on everyone. We got a great result. My rock these past weeks, and indeed my rock always, is my wife, Patrice. So I want to say Patrice, thank you, I love you.
Now let's talk about another love as we welcome back the first family of Rutgers football, Greg and Christy Schiano, and their four children, Joey, John, Matt and Katie. Joe is with us. Christy is with us. I was hoping Fumble would be here, as well, the family dog. Now, you know he's a defensive coach when he names a dog Fumble. You don't do that if you're an offensive coach. But it was a great pleasure meeting Fumble, as well, through this process.
I'm going to start by thanking Christy. Christy, you know all too well the sacrifices that are going to be required here in the years ahead. You've done it already. You are the First Lady of Rutgers football. We cannot thank you enough for giving Greg back to us, bringing your family back to us here on the Banks, and so I just want to say again, thank you, Christy.
Coach Schiano, now, I don't need to go through Coach's resume. You already know the historic things he's done. You already know his work ethic, his relentless pursuit of excellence. He will rebuild this program to the standard of excellent he set when he was here. He will exceed those past successes and we will all celebrate together. So I'm not going to talk about Greg Schiano the coach. I want to talk for a minute about Greg Schiano the molder of men. I've had many, many conversations with folks over the past few weeks, but two in particular stand out.
I had lunch one day in my office with Ryan Hart, Brian Leonard and Anthony Cali. They didn't come in to talk to me about wins and losses and how he's a coach, what he does on the field. They didn't want to talk about being a great CEO of a program and better than other coaches that we might interview.
They talked about how they wouldn't be the men they are today if it wasn't for Coach Schiano. They talked about the way they approached life, how they treat their families, the integrity that they bring to their professions. How they approach everything using the lessons they learned here at Rutgers under Coach Schiano. Incredibly powerful. What a great testament the effect of one person on the effect of hundreds of young men.
The second conversation was with Eric LeGrand. Eric's over here. Eric didn't talk about how Coach helped him during that great time of tragedy. He talked about how Coach helped his family get through that tragedy. Eric had the strength Coach instilled in him on the practice field and in competition and in the locker room. The LeGrand family needed all of Eric's strength and they needed all of Coach's strength. Eric is such an important part of our Rutgers family, and Eric, you and I had a phone call last week. You were a little down. I have a sense you're feeling really good today.
Monday, we met with the team for the first time. I wish everyone could have heard Coach's address. Our students were sitting up, eyes forward, listening to every word. What they heard is that this team is going to be about character and integrity.
Coach told them, there aren't going to be a lot of rules. Everyone knows the right thing to do. It's going to be about family, F-A-M-I-L-Y. What does that mean? "Forget about me, I love you," and that was repeated over and over in the room. We talked about selfishness and love for one another and how that love for one another is going to translate into success after success, not just during their time here at Rutgers, but beyond.
Second, he talked about trust, being honest, doing the right thing at the right time. You could have heard a pin drop in the room, this room, our team room. And the last thing he spoke about applies to all of us, as well. Every day, and every moment, we will be laser-focused, swinging that axe as hard as we can at everything we do, and as long as we keep chopping, the results will come.
That's Greg Schiano the man. That's Greg Schiano our coach. Now, Coach cannot do this alone. All of us, me, my administration, the university, our students, our alumni, and our fans, need to start chopping.
I couldn't be more excited about bringing Greg and Christy Schiano back to the Banks, so all of us, let's keep chopping and welcome Coach Schiano.
HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: Well, it's great to be home. It really is. I have a lot of thank-yous. It starts with God. I thank God for the opportunity to come back here to Rutgers and the platform that it's going to give me and our coaching staff our players. Watch them go from being young men to walking out the door as grown men.
I want to thank my family, starting with my wife, Christy. She is everything. She's my rock. She's my best friend. She's my confidante. She doesn't call plays, but she really does do everything else and she did an incredible job raising our four kids, because as Pat had mentioned, there's a lot of sacrifice in this business. So I love you and thank you.
Got four great kids. My oldest son, Joey, who is just finishing up his career at Bucknell. Matt and John who are up at Amherst, I'm sure watching this right now, and our daughter, Katie, who is back in Columbus. All those guys, make sure you get back to class when this is over.
I have a lot of people in the State of New Jersey, the State of Rutgers, that need to be thanked. I think it starts first with our Governor, Governor Murphy. I can't tell you how grateful I am that you are here. To have a Governor this involved and this supportive of Rutgers and Rutgers Football, it's incredible and it's going to be one of the reasons that this thing goes the way we all know it's going to go. Thank you.
President Barchi, I want to thank you for getting this done. I know it wasn't easy. I know it really challenged a lot of things that we have done here in the past. I give you my word, you're going to be proud, wherever you're sitting, wherever you're watching, you're going to be really, really proud of what these kids do, what this coaching staff does, what this school does. We'll be a part of this university. That's what we will be. Thank you.
The Board of Governors, I just want to thank everybody for their incredible support. I know it took a lot of work, a lot of time to come to this conclusion and I'm very, very grateful.
To Greg and Anna Brown, we were just talking before we came in here, I met Greg 19 years ago, right back in that office, he walked in and from that point, Greg and Anna and Christy and I, we have become very, very close and their support has been unparalleled, and not just support like everybody thinks financially or serving on the board but Greg is a true friend, a confidant, someone that I have grown very close to. So Greg, thanks and please give Anna our thanks, as well.
Pat Hobbs. Watch out for us together. We are going to make this thing special and I can't wait to do it with you. So shoulder to shoulder, as Mr. Brown said, shoulder-to-shoulder, here we go. I can't wait to do it.
Pat mentioned it but I want to mention it. I want to thank first off, our players. Because I had my phone, I was at my twins' game or I was at Joey's game every weekend this fall and I had my phone watching the Rutgers games. So I'd be watching the Rutgers games and watching the kids; watching the Rutgers games, and what I saw was a group of kids that were in a very tough situation continue to get better and better. That doesn't happen by accident.
Nunzio Campanile did an incredible job, incredible job. We would text back and forth, and I was really excited for him because he's an excellent coach. He will be a head coach in major college when it's said and done, but he kept this group together, and he kept them fighting and that is not easy to do. If you follow sports, that is not easy to do in the situation they were. So Nunz, I really appreciate what you did.
Eric, you got my back and you know that I always got your back, and if we don't, Miss Karen is going to knock us both out, so I got you.
Last but not least, I want to thank our fans. The incredible show of support; the show of our passion, that was awesome, that's what New Jersey is about. That's what's going to allow us to do the things we're going to do.
Now, I want to talk now. I don't want to have a press conference. I want to talk to everyone in our great State of New Jersey.
What just transpired was an incredible effort by our university. You can't say any more that Rutgers is not all in. Rutgers is all-in. Now it's our turn. Starts with me, our players. Our fans. Our boosters. Everybody's got to go all in, because here is the problem, we entered the Big Ten Conference a few years ago and the teams that we're looking up at right now, they are not waiting for Rutgers: Hey, come on guys, catch it, not even happening. They are moving.
I used to say we are chasing a moving target. Now I'm going to say it this way: We got to pass a moving target, and those are big targets, and it's going to take every single person, everyone.
So yeah if you got a lot of money, we need your money, make no mistake about it. But if you don't have a lot of money, we need you on the scarlet walk, we need that packed. We need you in that stadium. We need that stadium packed because those kids lay it on the line, and we don't need it -- with all due respect, we don't need it when we're seventh in the country, fifth in the country, first in the country. We need it right now. Not the beginning of the season. We need it right now.
When you're around the water cooler, you're around the coffee machine at work, we need you promoting Rutgers football. Those block R magnets, they have to be on your car. We have to create the importance, every single one of us. That has to happen.
Again, we're chasing some big dudes. No, we're passing, that's what we've got to do. We ain't chasing. We're passing and that's got to happen, and it's going to take every single one of us to do it. But the real beauty of this thing, people in New Jersey know how to work. They are not afraid of work. Not afraid to get after it. But we collectively showed what can happen. That's got to be our leaping-off point. We can't do this because it's just starting. Here we go.
It's really important now that we all come together. Collectively, here on campus; collectively in the State of New Jersey. New Jersey has always been a place, and I said this 19 years ago, it's always been a place, North Jersey, South Jersey. You know what, we really had it cranking here. There was no division. There was no division in high school football and there was no division on what there was. New Jersey, look, they have got the Giants and the Jets, you've got the Eagles, right -- I get it.
You have two major cities that border our state. There's one thing that's all about just us, and that's Rutgers, and it's Rutgers University, Rutgers athletics and Rutgers football. So we have a great opportunity to join everybody together, and that's what we need to do.
All right. Our program. What's it going to be built on? It's not real complicated. Pat alluded to it. It's going to be built on love. And you may say, that's not very tough talk for a football coach. Love is sacrifice. Know what the word means. Love isn't a feeling. Love is an action. We could say we're going to build a program on being great teammates. That's what love is, but you can also say we're going to build it on coaches who love players.
We're going to build it on players who love coaches. There's not going to be division. We're all in this together. That's what it's going to be built on and when you have that feeling, you get exponential growth. That's what we're going to do have to do. Again, because the challenge, the hill is steep, but that's what we need to do and that's what we will do.
I met with the players as Pat had mentioned. We got a great group of players. Do we have to improve? Sure we do. But you know, I look over at that wall when I'm talking to our football team, and which there's Devin McCourty. Now, he's going to run the fingers to put Super Bowl rings on. Devin was a two-star. He wasn't a five-star. He was a two-star. And didn't have a bunch of offers. I don't know if he had any Division I offers.
Jason is over there. Well, Jason had maybe a couple. Players that are out there that are watching, that are listening, that are going to read, understand one thing: We are going to develop you at Rutgers. We are going to develop you as men. We are going to develop you as football players. It's a total experience here that's built on love.
Pat mentioned the chop. When we got good and it got exciting here, everybody did this, and I'm not sure everybody knows what this means. As an assistant coach, I sat in a meeting room, and there was a sports psychologist by the name of Kevin Elko. We were 3-3 at the University of Miami, and we thought we might get fired and that's before the great run occurred there, and we were going up to play Boston College and he said: You guys, you're in the middle of the woods and it's pitch dark and it's cold, and you've got two choices: You can curl up and die or in essence get fired, or you can pick up an axe, pick one tree, look at the spot on that tree, and grab that axe as tight as you can and haul off and hit that spot.
But it's not going to do much. You've got to look at that spot with great focus and great concentration and do it again and do it again, and do it again, and eventually, 400, 500 strokes later, you're going to start to hear something -- poof. That's when you take a rest, pat yourself on the back, and then pick a new tree and start on that, and pretty soon that dark forest, a little light starts to show. You keep doing it, before you know it, you're where you want to be. That's the way it's going to work, and I'm going to make no mistake about it because I've never done anything in my life, anything, other that be to be the very best.
So when I stood up here 19 years ago, and I said, "Rutgers football will be national champions," I got a lot of laughs, a lot of smirks, a lot of people said, "Oh, yeah, yeah."
We got to No. 7. We couldn't do it. A lot of water under the bridge since then. Don't laugh. I'm not saying it's going to be overnight. We know that. It's going to take a lot of hard work, a lot of great coaches, a lot of great players. We have university support.
But I would never ask a player to sit in one of these seats, go down in that weight room, go down on that field, if it wasn't to be the very best. That is our goal and it will never change: To hoist a National Championship trophy and be No. 1 in the country, to be the best.
So that's what it's going to take. It's going to take everybody in this state, everybody who cares about Rutgers and who cares about New Jersey, to pick up the axe, look at the spot, and just start chopping and don't worry about what happens next. Just look at the spot and keep hitting it until that tree falls. I'm thrilled to be back. Can't wait to get this done. Thank you.
Q. Is this a more daunting task than the rebuilding job you inherited in 2000? HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: In some ways, probably. In other ways, no. You know, we're sitting in this meeting room here, I can remember Bob Mulcahy, our athletic director when we came here, he said we're going to build an addition on to this building. I said, "Bob, we need to." And we did it, right.
So we're sitting in a better facility than we were. You go to the practice field, it's certainly a lot better than we had with the light post falling down, right, that weight room. We are definitely well ahead.
I'll tell you this, and this will be a good little story for everybody. So we could alternate night going to the twins' game or going to Joey's game and one night we're going to fly into Albany to go up to Williams College. I said to Christy, it was right in the middle of this stuff, and I said to Christy, "Why don't we fly into Newark and just take a ride around Rutgers." Because if this thing works out, I want to see; I haven't been back in a long time.
So I had a hat -- and this is silly, right -- and glasses, I had my reading glasses on and I kind of walked like this through the airport so no one would see me, and we came down and I drove around, and I went on the Livingston campus, and I didn't even know where I was. It's unbelievable what you have accomplished, the buildings you have put up, unbelievable. So I'm like, wow, because I'm going to tell you the truth, when we used to recruit, we never even told them there was a Livingston campus, okay.
So then I go, let's go down College Avenue and see what's down there. We're driving around, oh, this is beautiful, look at this, where the seminary used to be, there's all these beautiful buildings. Then we get down to the end and I see the big clock on the new bookstore, and look to my right and there's this unbelievable -- and it was a Friday night and there was action and energy.
I said to her, I turned to Christy and I said, "Oh, I hope this works." We recruited these players with nothing. Literally it was a great academic school but it wasn't -- like compared to other campuses, we kind of hid the campus. Now I can't wait to get our recruits out on that campus, show them proud, say look at this, look at this, because there is no place nicer. It's beautiful.
To answer your question, I think we're in better position to make our move and I can't wait to do it.
Q. With less than one month left until early signing period, how do you plan to attack recruiting for 2020 on short time? HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: It's going to be very difficult, I'm going to tell you right now, we have literally, counting today, eight school days left.
So when we're done, we're going to do some things here and then I'm heading out to see some players and we just got to do that. We've been on the phone with players just constantly, and you know what, we're not going to rush and just fill up guys to say we signed guys. That's not what we're going to do.
We're going to take guys that are Rutgers men, guys that we know love the game of football. Because when they love football, then all the other stuff that maybe they are not so motivated to do, they are going to do it, because they know the coach they play for, you'd take care of business, otherwise you don't get to do what you love and that's been the way we do it, right.
And I'm not going to tell you -- you know, I love coaches who say, "I treat everybody the same." Well, if you do, that's crazy, because they don't treat you the same. I treat everybody fair. But there's a certain level everybody on the team must accomplish and must do. That's it. There's no exceptions to that. I don't care; it didn't matter if it was Brian or Leonard. It didn't matter who it was. They were going to do this. Now, you are an equity, that's the way it works in the real world, right. So when you build equity and you have a little mishap, okay, we'll get that fixed. When you don't have much equity, it's not that easy.
So we're going to go out and find players that want to be here. That make sense?
Q. I wanted to ask you about your time away from the college game in particular, obviously going back to Tampa but even more recently in New England. When you left the NFL behind, in that time what did you learn about yourself or why did you do that, and what is it about the college game in particular that brought you back here? HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: Well, I'll tell you. Since I left here eight years ago, a lot has happened and some of that's been in pro football. I learned a ton. I've been humbled.
But you know, the people that you really know got your back, like Bill Belichick, I started working there, and I loved working there, but I just felt -- coaching is a very selfish business and like I said earlier, my wife, Christy, she raised our kids and I tried to jump in when I could. I just felt like it had been about me for 30 years and it was time to work on myself a little bit and spend time with my children and my wife. It was the best eight months that I've had.
But you know what, I had a boss in Bill Belichick who is a true friend and he was awesome. He understood and he gave me his blessing, and that's really what made it easier to do. I'll always cherish those memories. But as I reflected over those eight months, I realized that what I've been put on earth, what I've been blessed to do, is not only coach the game of football, but use it as a platform to take young men and turn them into grown men and put them out there.
You know, I always tell parents when we recruit their sons, your job's not done, but we are going to help you finish the process and the only reason we are recruiting your son is we believe in him as a young man, so we are going to make sure that he finishes his development and we are going to be the parents away from home. I think that's something that I'm blessed with, my wife, with the players, and really, the staff, we're going to put together. That's a key component.
Q. A lot of the stuff you say sounds like the Greg Schiano from the 2000s, 2006, which is great. Being in a powerhouse as Ohio State, how have you changed as a head coach? I'm sure the student athletes have changed in that time, as well. HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: There's no doubt a lot's changed. Social media alone is a whole world that didn't exist.
So being able to adapt to that stuff; I think like I mentioned in Tara's question, when you're humbled a little bit, you really reflect on where could I have been better. I always think, when things don't go right, you need to look at your first, you know, in the mirror first; what could I have done better.
There's a saying that I've really tried to stick to in the last five years or so, and that's keep the main thing the main thing. I think a lot of times you can get worried about every single thing, and yeah, sure, everything's important, but if everything's important, nothing's important.
I think I've learned that I'm in charge of the main thing and I've got to keep focused on the main thing. There are going to be other people that can take care of other stuff, but when someone trusts their son with me, I've got four kids; anybody messes with my kids, that's going to be a bad day, right. But when they trust their kid with me, I've got a big, big responsibility and I've got to make sure I keep my focus on them.
So players is probably -- not probably; players is the biggest focus, whereas the first time around, it was plays, it was schemes, it was techniques. I'll hire really, really good coaches and they are going to be excellent at that, and I'll help because I have 30 years of experience.
But I have a responsibility to those parents. I got your son. I ultimately am in charge, so I got your son and I've got to make sure that I carry that out and that's probably the biggest -- not that I didn't do that, but I think my focus is even going to be more on that this second go-around.
Q. In December of 2000, you said this program will be built on a rock foundation. It will take longer than building it on stilts, but when it's built, it will be built forever. So what's your message December of 2019 regarding building this program again? HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: It's a really good question, Bruce. I'm a little disappointed because we said it would be built forever and now here we stand, right. Need to alter a few things, because there's going to come a day when I'm not the coach here any more, and just as I -- I think I told Pat and Greg both this.
The last eight years, I followed Rutgers, that was my team. Now I didn't let everybody know that, but whether I was coaching in the NFL, I checked the scores, I read the stories. I always wondered and wanted to know what's happening at Rutgers.
I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I got disappointed when things didn't go well. We need to adjust a few things because we do need to build this program to last. The State of New Jersey deserves that. Rutgers University deserves that. We're going to have to adjust some things, but it will be built to last, I promise you that.
Q. Governor Murphy's predecessor did not speak well of you. He compared you unfavorably to Bear Bryant and Urban Meyer, and said that you're an unemployed football coach who now wants taxpayers of the state to pay for his private air travel. Feeling welcomed? HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: I am. I am welcome. Look, Chris and I, we go back a long way, and we're fine. I take no offense. People are going to say things. I know this; that he wants what's best for New Jersey, too. We'll be fine. Not a problem.
Q. You spent some time with Urban Meyer. What did you really take away from that experience as a coach? HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: Well, it was really unique because Urban is a good friend of mine, like really good friend, very, very close, and you know, initially, there was no way I was going to go be an assistant. But he is one of the more persuasive people that I've ever met, and what I learned working there for three years, I thought that I was the hardest working coach in recruiting, right, and I learned that I wasn't.
And I learned some ways to be a better recruiter and if I said one thing, I would take that away from my time; is that there's certain things that you can do to really exponentially pop your recruiting, so I'm excited to do that. Because we did a pretty good job here of recruiting, but that's the life behind of your program. I learned a lot of stuff and I hope he learned some stuff from me. We're really good friends. But that would be the biggest thing.
Q. Ten days ago, the university put out a statement saying, "Talks are dead." What happened? What was your initial feeling when that happened, and what changed to make the talks end up where we are today? HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: Well, I thank God that they did, I really do, and I prayed for that to happen. I really -- but that's what happened, right there, those people, and several more, and me, too. I think there's never been a moment where all of us didn't want the same thing, because this is a top-flight university, period.
So everything that's associated with it needs to be that, right. I think sometimes you go through things and there's different ways -- there's definitely different ways to skin the cat, we know that, and I think what happened is we really communicated well.
When it looked like it might be going off the rails, I'm not going to lie, I was very disappointed, very disappointed and even more so after we took that little secret trip and saw how beautiful the place has really become. But I was hopeful and these men here, and some other people, you know, that -- you know, that helped me out, really, really did a great job.
I should -- it reminds me, I do want to thank Jimmy Sexton and his group because they did an incredible job on our -- on our part helping get this thing to the goal line, as well. I think it was a collection of really smart people that decided this is what's best, so let's find a way to get it done.
Q. You were known as a pro style and 4-3 guy the first time around. Will change this time of around, and if so how, who will the type of personnel you recruit change from the past? HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: I think that goes back to Tara's question, you know, again, what did I learn from eight years in pro football. The one thing about pro football that's different, it's a matchup game. Everything is about matchups. So we are going to have to really, really take advantage of that.
So schemes, you know, you've got 11 guys. We're not talking about rocket science here. You've got 11 guys. You've got to figure out where to put them and you have to give them a chance to be successful, and coaching football is that simple. It's not easy, but it's very simple.
So we have to make sure that we have flexibility to fit the personnel we have. So to say we're pro style or we're spread team or we're an RPO team or we're 4-3 or we're a 3-4, it doesn't matter. The thing that matters, we'll do whatever it takes to win. What matters; that our players love each other and they are willing to put it on the line for each other and they are willing to play incredibly hard.
You know, football is not a natural game. You go to a family picnic, they play pick-up hoops, they play wiffle ball. No one goes and puts a hard shell helmet on and then runs into somebody. That's just not natural.
So when you get players that do that, right, they got to have something inside of them that they are doing it for, and the most important thing that our players and our coaches do it for each other. When they do that, we can make Rutgers proud and we can make New Jersey proud.
Q. The offense has been near the bottom national the last four years and you're probably going to have your 11th offensive coordinator in 11 years. What is your vision for the offense and how do you fix that going forward? HEAD COACH GREG SCHIANO: Well, like I just said, I don't think to call it a name -- because I don't want to do that. You look at the team that won the most Super Bowls and is the best organization ever in pro sport, one week the Patriots will run the ball 50 times and throw it, you know, 14. Flip to next week, they throw it -- or run it 14 and throw it 50.
We're going to do what it takes to win. Now offensively what I believe and how I've grown, I think you have to make teams defend you sideline-to-sideline. So we are not going to be -- if you get in tight, there's a reason. We want to make them depend 53 and a third and we also want to make them defend deep. So if that gives you a little insight, it's going to be people all over the place and make the defense -- because as a defensive coach, I hate when they do that to you, right.
So we are going to make people do that and we are going to hire a staff that's experts at doing those things, both offensively, defensively and in the kicking game and that's really, really important to me. They need to do their job and I need to let them do their job and I need to make sure I do my job. That's going to be the key.
I just want to say, again, we need everybody's help. You have a job to do. We have a job to do, but if anybody in this great State of New Jersey is listening, we need everybody to galvanize. You did it. You did something incredible. But now we need to take it to the next level, to the next level. We need focus on that spot and we need to chop away.
I really appreciate everybody coming out here today. I thank you.