Campanile named as new running back coach
Ash finalizes 10 coach sideline for next season
Rutgers football head coach Chris Ash has completed his offseason coaching hire search, adding Bergen Catholic High School head coach Nunzio Campanile to the sidelines as his running back coach, per reports.
This marks the third and final coaching hire of the winter for Ash, who previously hired John McNulty as the offensive coordinator and Corey Brown as the defensive line coach. The Scarlet Knights are now set with 10 coaches ready to go for next season.
The Crusaders have been one of the best football teams in New Jersey over the past eight years, compiling a 60-29 record since 2010 under Campanile. Campanile had just one season with less than seven wins in his eight-year career in Oradell.
Campanile is known for his offensive mind, leading teams to obscene scores when it comes to high school football.
This past season, Campanile capped off his career at Bergen Catholic with the team's first state title in approximately 14 years, winning the Non-Public Group IV championship over St. Peters Prep last November. The team averaged 34.5 points per game and scored 44 points in the title game — while also holding the Marauders to just 7.
Prior to his time at the helm of the Crusaders, Campanile was the athletic director at Don Bosco Prep, while also serving as offensive coordinator from 2000 to 2009. In his last season with the team, it averaged 46 points per game and scored a season-high 71 points in a game.
Campanile can also be credited for producing two of the best quarterbacks in Rutgers’ program history.
Knights career passing yards leader, Mike Teel — who threw for 9,383 yards and 59 touchdowns — was supervised by Campanile during his time at Don Bosco. Right behind Teel is Gary Nova, who also played under Campanile with the Ironmen and threw for 9,258 yards and 72 touchdowns during his four years at Rutgers.
Campanile graduated from Montclair State and originally wanted to be a lawyer, even passing his LSAT exam before deciding to continue in his family's legacy and pursue football. His father was head coach of Paterson Catholic and Paramus Catholic for 10 years. Campanile's brother, Anthony, was a former defensive assistant and wide receives coach on the Banks.
"I had expectations for myself career-wise,” Nunzio said to NJ Advance Media in 2012. "I didn’t know if being a football coach would be reaching my potential.''
The Campanile hire is bound to have huge implications going forward for the Knights and the rest of New Jersey football, when it comes to recruitment of the state’s best high school players.
In the past, Rutgers has had a problem looking appealing to New Jersey’s top recruits, with the team not performing as well as it would like and at times struggling against teams it should easily beat.
With the likes of four-star recruit defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste this year, and five-star defensive lineman Antonio Alfano and multiple three-star athletes next year, the Knights can capitalize on having one of the biggest names in football in the state on their sidelines.
For example, Cleveland Browns safety Jabrill Peppers is from East Orange and played football at Don Bosco and Paramus Catholic, while Campanile was at Bergen Catholic. But instead of going to play for the top school in his home state, Peppers went to Big Ten rival Michigan and had an outstanding career, capped off by being a Heisman Trophy finalist in his final year in college before being the 25th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
“The hiring of my former coach Nunzio Campanile is the best move Rutgers has ever made. Nunzio is a personable guy who is a genius when it comes to the X's and O's side of football,” said Josh McKenzie, a three-star Bergen Catholic running back to NJ Advance Media, when asked about the hiring. “This now creates an interesting turn on my recruitment, as Rutgers was high on my list, but now just got even higher with the hiring of Nunzio. I talked to some other players in the class of 2019 about Nunzio at Rutgers and they all seem to feel the same way about the hiring.”
Rutgers needs influence in the New Jersey talent pool, and bringing someone like Campanile into its coaching staff is a significant move at doing that.