Greg Schiano passionate about Rutgers becoming competitive in Big Ten

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. -- Five minutes after being introduced as the Rutgers football coach for a second time, Greg Schiano gave a clear indication why he might be the man to make the Scarlet Knights competitive in the Big Ten Conference.

"We're chasing some big dudes," Schiano said in front of a news conference packed with media and supporters on Wednesday. "No, we're passing, that's what we've got to do. We ain't chasing. We're passing and that's got to happen, and it's going to take every single one of us to do it.

"But the real beauty of this thing, people in New Jersey know how to work. They are not afraid of work. Not afraid to get after it. But we collectively showed what can happen. That's got to be our leaping-off point. We can't do this because it's just starting. Here we go."

Schiano was giving the type of talk needed to sway young players who might be interested in turning around a Rutgers program that has won just seven games over the past three seasons, and has lost 21 consecutive conference games.

After it took him five years to turn around Rutgers' program in the Big East when he got the job for the first time in 2001, Schiano, whose eight-year, $32 million contract was approved by the university's board of governors Tuesday, would not put a timetable on transforming a program that has struggled since joining the Big Ten in 2014.

A New Jersey native, Schiano went 68-67 at Rutgers from 2001-11 and turned the Scarlet Knights into consistent winners. They went to six bowl games in his final seven seasons. He left to become the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL, a job that lasted two seasons.

He returns to a team coming off a 2-10 record and its second straight winless season in the Big Ten.

He met with the current team Monday and has been talking to players who had recently put their names in the transfer portal. He needs to hire a staff, although he said interim coach Nunzio Campanile, who took over after Chris Ash was fired in late September, will remain next season.

Schiano also will have to focus on recruiting. The next day for early signings is Dec. 18.

Athletic director Pat Hobbs said he expects to have renderings for a new football operations center completed in the next month.

Hobbs said his goal was to bring back Schiano, although there were bumps in the negotiations.

"He will rebuild this program to the standard of excellence he set when he was here," Hobbs said. "He will exceed those past successes and we will all celebrate together."

Outgoing Rutgers President Robert Barchi called the hiring a quantum step forward for the program.

"Everything we do is built on what we've done before, but every once in a while you take a step that's more than just incremental," Barchi said. "You take a step that makes a statement. You take a step that is going somewhere much further than where we have been and this marks one of those occasions. I reckon this to be one of the biggest."