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Flood hiring ends RU’s search

<p>Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood and Athletic Director Tim
Pernetti display the Rutgers jersey Pernetti presented to Flood
yesterday, when Flood officially became the school’s 29th head

Rutgers head football coach Kyle Flood and Athletic Director Tim Pernetti display the Rutgers jersey Pernetti presented to Flood yesterday, when Flood officially became the school’s 29th head coach.

Kyle Flood always told recruits the difference between a head coach and an assistant was the head coach’s Cadillac. Greg Schiano’s SUV occupied the Rutgers head football coach’s parking spot at the Hale Center for 11 years.

But Flood succeeded Schiano yesterday after serving seven seasons as offensive line coach, ending Athletic Director Tim Pernetti’s five-day coaching search.

“I always felt like I was a candidate for the job,” Flood said yesterday in a crowded press conference. “I never asked Tim to be a candidate for the job. I’m honored they considered me … and even more honored they chose me.”

Flood inked a five-year deal worth $4.75 million, making him the lowest-paid coach in the Big East. He will make $750,000 during his first season, and his salary will increase by $100,000 each year.

A number of on- and off-field incentives could enhance Flood’s contract, including $100,000 if the Scarlet Knights win the Big East outright.

Pernetti aimed to have a head coach in place by today, which is National Signing Day for high school football recruits. But he vowed he would not rush the process.

“Five days ago when we started this, I thought it was important to not lock into any deadline,” Pernetti said. “I was going to take the time necessary to find the right person. Fortunately, those two things matched up.”

Flood inherits a job that is not the same as it was 10 years ago, Pernetti said. The Knights have a veteran-laden unit, superior facilities and a recent history of success.

The state of the program likely played a part in the hiring of Flood, an in-house candidate.

“The difference now is Rutgers is not a stop-along-the-way place anymore,” Flood said. “Rutgers is a destination, and I think people in this program know that.”

Among those in the program, four players sat in on Flood’s time at the podium. Flood’s hire capped a five-day stretch that resulted in Schiano’s departure to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Knights were confused initially and searched for answers.

They found a familiar one in Flood, Schiano’s assistant head coach since 2008.

“Like coach said, our core values will stay the same,” said senior tight end D.C. Jefferson. “We still have the same camaraderie with each other around here. It’s good to have someone within the staff.”

But initial reports put an in-house hire in jeopardy. Florida International’s Mario Cristobal was likely Rutgers’ next head coach, but he turned down an offer, The Star-Ledger reported Monday.

“I’m not going to get into details of what I discussed with who,” Pernetti said. “At the end, through all the distractions, I tried to stick to the criteria and find the right person and feel good about where it ended up.”

Pernetti’s search 20 months ago ended with head men’s basketball coach Mike Rice. Pernetti culminated another search with Flood, a 19-year assistant with New Jersey football connections.

“When given the opportunity to do a job and it’s a job you’re really excited about, you take that opportunity without hesitation,” Flood said. “Rutgers football as a program is going to go on and do some great things here. I’m excited to be in charge of it.”

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