Greg Schiano is the next head coach of Rutgers and the program will need to put together a staff and do so in a hurry.
And while Schiano won’t coach a game until 2020 and he won’t have this team for practice till the spring, Schiano can set an awful lot of momentum in place through his hires now. Recruiting can help this momentum and get Schiano the talent needed to be competitive in the Big Ten starting this cycle.
The staff has to be a mix of familiar faces who have worked with Schiano before, after all, he is a micromanager. In addition, he will need local ties and can’t ignore the talent currently in the tristate area.
To be competitive, he will need young faces and diversity. It wouldn’t hurt to have some former players, especially ones who played in the NFL, to not only coach-up his recruits but create some excitement.
Here’s what a Schiano coaching staff might look like:
Offensive Coordinator (and tight ends) – Frank Cignetti
Cignetti spent one successful year at Rutgers (2011) as an offensive coordinator and has worked with Schiano before. The 54-year old has ties to recruiting this area at Rutgers as well as in college stops at Pittsburgh and North Carolina. Can sell his NFL ties, having last been the quarterback coach at the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers.
Quarterback Coach – Matt Simms
A former NFL quarterback with some obviously strong bloodlines, Simms is currently working as a quarterback trainer in New Jersey. He would check off several boxes for Rutgers as a strong, technical coach with local ties and experience in the league. Simms also is the quarterback mentor of Michael Alaimo, the top quarterback recruit in New Jersey and a current Purdue verbal. A combination of Schiano as head coach and Simms as a position coach could make things interesting for the four-star rated Alaimo.
Offensive Line Coach – Darnell Stapleton
Having spent four years in the league, Stapleton has been an offensive line coach the past several seasons, including two years at Rutgers as a graduate assistant. Now at Sam Houston State, Rutgers would be a big jump up in competition but the former Rutgers center should be able to make the transition. Being able to flash a Super Bowl ring he won with the Pittsburgh Steelers as well as his own roots in New Jersey make him a good selection.
Running Backs Coach (and Co-Offensive Coordinator) - Nunzio Campanile
The current interim head coach gets a bump from his previous role coaching the running backs and shares offensive coordinator duties with Cignetti. A strong recruiter and tireless worker, this enhances the New Jersey ties and Campanile should be groomed as a possible head coach someday, sans the interim tag. There is a lot of potential here.
Wide Receivers Coach – Tiquan Underwood
Currently on staff with the Miami Dolphins working in quality control, this would be another former player under Schiano who has local ties and also NFL success on his resume. Underwood should have juice on the recruiting trail and was always known as a strong route runner in college and as a professional. Plus, coaching in the NFL in Miami might make him a strong presence recruiting this hotbed for talent.
Co- Defensive Coordinator – Fran Brown
The current defensive coordinator at Temple has been a thorn in Rutgers side on the recruiting trail. Highly energetic and enthusiastic, Brown is known as a great gameday coach and brings enthusiasm and excitement on the sideline. Should instantly help Rutgers be able to flip a couple recruits committed elsewhere given that he can sell better facilities and the Big Ten. Home run hire.
Defensive Line – Scott Vallone
Currently on staff at Fordham, Vallone is yet another former Schiano player who is currently coaching. Like Underwood and Stapleton, he played in the NFL, and gives local ties as a former standout and top recruit from Long Island. Vallone already has several years of coaching experience and understands Schiano’s expectations and defense. Being able to recruit under the radar players in New York and Long Island is certainly an asset for Vallone.
Linebacker Coach (and Co-Defensive Coordinator)- Anthony Campanile
The current Michigan linebacker coach would love to return to New Jersey and coach alongside his brother. Local ties are checked off as is coaching acumen. Like his brother, he is another future head coach in the making as Schiano’s coaching tree continues to expand and grow.
Secondary Coach – Jason Jones
No Schiano ties here but Jones has earned a very good reputation around college football. Currently at Florida Atlantic, Jones has stops at Alabama, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State as well as being a former Crimson Tide player. Can help recruit Florida, which was a crucial state for Schiano during his first stint at Rutgers.
Special Teams Coordinator – Phil Galiano
Like Cignetti, this is a coach who returns back to Rutgers to work with Schiano. Galiano, currently an assistant special teams coordinator with the New Orleans Saints, was a tremendous coordinator during his previous stop at Rutgers. Now boasting NFL credentials, Galiano is a great recruiter with local ties as well as Florida (spent time at Florida International University as an assistant).