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Greg Schiano returns to Banks to take over football program

It has been 11 years since Greg Schiano last held the head coaching position for the Rutgers football team.

Within that time, the Scarlet Knights (2-10, 0-9) have seen only two winning seasons, three different head coaches, one Kyle Flood scandal and a whole lot of losing.

This year alone, the Rutgers community has witnessed interim head coach Nunzio Campanile attempt to guide a team with virtually no expectations into a respectable position in the Big Ten. His attempts to do so were futile, though, as the Knights struggled through yet another winless conference season that was capped off with a Saturday afternoon loss to Penn State.

Rutgers wanted Schiano, the man who helped the Knights return to respectability with five bowl game victories after 22 years without one before his hire, back as their head coach for years to come.

According to sources that recently spoke to Yahoo Sports, the team may have just gotten their wish.

Reported early Sunday morning by Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, Rutgers and Schiano have reportedly come to an agreement with a deal that is expected to be around the original 8 years/$32 million that the former college and NFL head coach was asking for in round one of negotiations.

This announcement, which comes on the heels of community-wide backlash after talks between the pair were said to have fizzled out just under a week ago, is the one that much of the Knights community wanted to hear.

After the original news broke that in round one of the talks between Rutgers and Schiano, the school could not come to an agreement with the former head coach’s terms, members of the Knights’ alumni network and even prominent local figures took to the media to express their complaints.

Former defensive tackle Eric LeGrand was one of those displeased fans that used Twitter to voice the feelings that were commonly felt throughout much of the Rutgers community.

“Rutgers ... how?” LeGrand said on Twitter the day round one of negotiations was said to have ended without a deal for Schiano.

It was not only players and fans that voiced their displeasure. On Nov. 25, Piscataway Mayor Brian C. Wahler issued a statement regarding the Schiano negotiations.

“As the Mayor of Piscataway Township, the host of Rutgers Football, I am greatly disappointed at the lack of success Rutgers Football has had since entering the Big Ten,” Wahler said. “I am particularly disappointed in Rutgers’ inability to successfully negotiate a contract with Coach Greg Schiano.”

Wahler was one of several public figures who commented on the negotiations. Former Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.) criticized Schiano for his demands of $34 million and unlimited use of a private jet.

“He’s not Bear Bryant, he’s not Urban Meyer,” Christie said. “He’s an unemployed football coach who now wants the taxpayers of the state of New Jersey to pay for his private air travel.”

Former Gov. Richard Codey (D-N.J.) criticized Christie for his statements. 

“You have a former governor out there spreading total lies,” Codey said. “There is no private jet for his family. It’s away games for the team and his wife and his kids would be allowed on the team charter. That’s not what Mr. Christie said, of course.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) and his chief of staff George Helmy contacted Schiano’s representatives, attempting to start a second round of negotiations. 

Sure enough, it was announced on Sunday that the two sides had finally agreed to a deal, thanks in large part to the pressure by the Knights community.

Murphy tweeted that he was “thrilled to usher in a new era” for the program. He also stated that it is “a very good day for New Jersey.”

While the contract is not yet official, the University’s Board of Governors will meet Tuesday at 10 a.m. to formally announce Schiano as head coach.

The former head of the program will look to build off of his already impressive coaching resume once he is officially voted in.

Accumulating a 56-33 record in his last seven years with Rutgers, Schiano guided his players to six bowl games with five victories coming out of them. 

In his last season with the Knights, he coached his way to a 9-4 overall record with a 4-3 record in the Big East.

Once Schiano’s career with Rutgers enabled him to receive an offer to become the head coach of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the former Knights staffer chose to pursue the professional experience as he stayed with the Buccaneers for two seasons at the helm.

While Rutgers will have a long road ahead of it in becoming the sort of elitist program that propelled Schiano into a professional role, there is no doubt that his presence with the team will be impactful in every sense of the word for the Knights community.

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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