Chris Ash out as head coach, Hobbs begins search for replacement
Rutgers football coach Chris Ash and offensive coordinator John McNulty have been relieved of their duties and will not finish the remainder of their contracts with the University, Rutgers Athletics announced yesterday.
Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile will serve as interim head coach for the remainder of the season, according to the announcement.
Athletics Director Pat Hobbs will lead a national search for a new permanent football coach, with former head coach Greg Schiano as a top contender. Other possible candidates include Mississippi State University coach Joe Moorhead, University at Buffalo coach Lance Leipold, University of Pittsburgh coach Pat Narduzzi and Princeton University coach Bob Surace, according to an article on NJ Advance Media.
"We appreciate Chris's dedicated efforts on behalf of our football program, our department and our University," Hobbs said. "This change is especially difficult because of the steadfast commitment that Chris and his family have made to our student athletes.”
Ash had approximately $8.47 million left on his contract through the 2022 season, with $2.3 million going for the remainder of this season, according to the article. McNulty, who was in the middle of a three-year deal, is owed approximately $900,000.
Both Ash and McNulty’s contracts will be paid through department-generated funds, according to the Rutgers Athletics announcement.
"I'd like to thank Dr. Barchi and Pat Hobbs for the opportunity to serve as Rutgers Head Football coach. Thank you to the fans and state of New Jersey for all of your support," Ash said in a statement on Twitter after the decision was announced. "I've had the pleasure of coaching so many outstanding young men during my time here. I loved all our players and appreciate the effort they gave everyday on and off the field."
The Scarlet Knights received their third loss in four games this season, losing 52-0 to the University of Michigan. Rumors had been circulating that Ash may be out before the season was over, given this was his fourth year as head coach of the struggling program.
Under his leadership, Rutgers has had a record of eight wins and 32 losses, with only three wins coming in the Big Ten, according to the article.
Having spent his first two seasons running a program on probation due to scandals involving players’ drug use, improprieties in the largely female ambassador program and former head coach Kyle Flood’s attempts to change grades, Ash had hoped to eventually turn the program around, according to an article on NJ Advance Media. But in the past two years, the Ash-led team won two regular season games.
Campanile, a Bergen County native, is now put into the position of turning the program’s hopes around this season as he serves as both interim head coach and offensive coordinator. The University hopes the team can do better than the 1-11 record last season, according to the article.
"Progress has been achieved in many areas, but unfortunately, that progress has not been realized on the field of play,'' Hobbs said, according to the article. "As such, it is in the best interest of the program to make a change.''
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