Prince departs Knights for coaching job with Lions
Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood is expected to fill the role of one coordinator vacancy during the offseason.
Thanks to Ron Prince, now both jobs need new suitors.
Prince, who served as the Scarlet Knights’ offensive coordinator this past season, landed with the Detroit Lions last week as both the assistant head coach and tight ends coach.
Prince spent three seasons coaching in the NFL before joining Rutgers for last season and is the fourth straight coach to leave the position after just one year on the job.
In terms of production, his first and only year with the Knights was inconsistent.
Rutgers’ offense exploded in its first five games, averaging more than 26 points per game en route to a 4-1 record to begin the season, including two games with more than 50 points.
In the Knights’ last eight games, junior quarterback Gary Nova struggled with inconsistencies and the offense averaged just over 18 points.
Despite the lack of consistency from the offense, Prince was expected back for Rutgers’ inaugural season in the Big Ten.
Flood also fired former defensive coordinator Dave Cohen, along with quarterbacks coach Rob Spence and offensive line coach Damian Wroblewski on Dec. 8 — one day after the Knights captured their sixth victory of the season to become bowl eligible.
Flood made Mitch Browning the offensive line coach Dec. 18.
Special teams coordinator Joe Rossi took over as the interim defensive coordinator during Rutgers’ preparation for the New Era Pinstripe Bowl against Notre Dame.
But Flood not appointing him as a permanent replacement after the Knights’ 29-16 loss to the Fighting Irish means the search is still in progress.
Rutgers’ affiliation with the Big Ten can help the program in the searching process.
“I think we’re fortunate as a Big Ten football program that we have a great destination for a really talented football coach who’s a really good person and a quality recruiting,” Flood said Jan. 6 via teleconference. “There’s really no limitation on who that person can be.”
That even means looking into former head coach Greg Schiano’s coaching staff from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Schiano was fired after two seasons as the team’s head coach.
“Would that include that group of people? Certainly it would,” Flood said. “Would it be exclusive to that group of people? No it wouldn’t.”
It remains to unknown when both coordinator positions will be filled.
While the allure of being a coordinator in the Big Ten is a positive pull for prospective candidates, Flood believes there is no perfect time to name the replacements.
“I think sooner is always better than later, but I don’t think you ever want to put a timetable on getting the right person,” Flood said. “There’s no deadline.”