John McNulty also owns Rutgers ties, serving five seasons under former head coach Greg Schiano. With McNulty as offensive coordinator for three years, the Scarlet Knights won all three bowl games and finished with a 38-24 record.
His pro-style offense aided Ray Rice’s emergence in the backfield and Mike Teel’s development under center. With McNulty, the Knights boasted their first 3,000-yard passer (Teel), 2,000-yard rusher (Rice) and two 1,000-yard receivers (Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood).
McNulty is now the wide receivers coach with the Arizona Cardinals, mentoring All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald. While Fitzgerald was nearly a finished product after leaving Pittsburgh, the Rutgers offense lacked explosion.
But after McNulty took over play calling in 2006, the Knights finished 11-2 and ranked No. 12 in the nation. The season catapulted Rutgers into the national limelight and ended with Schiano being named National Coach of the Year and Big East Coach of the Year.
McNulty’s offense scored 39 points in the Knights’ infamous overtime loss at West Virginia that season. It put up 38 points the week before in a win against Syracuse and blew out Kansas State, 37-10, for Rutgers’ first bowl win since 1978.
The 2006 team, McNulty’s last in Piscataway, also beat Illinois, 33-0, and bested North Carolina in the non-conference slate.
McNulty began his NFL career with the Jacksonville Jaguars as an offensive quality control coach and as a receivers coach with the Dallas Cowboys.
He likely will not have to worry about structure on the defensive side, as the Knights return eight starters and two All-Big East First Team selections.
“Once a coach is named, we build those relationships through meetings and talking to him and getting to know him,” said senior linebacker Khaseem Greene. “But as far as us as players, we’re going to be the same. Coach Schiano built something special here, and he put some characteristics into us that no one can take away from us.”
With a Schiano background, the Rutgers DNA likely is not one of McNulty’s concerns.