Pandemonium in Piscataway?

By Sal Soothsayer

November 11, 2013



I was wrong.  In an article I wrote on October 31st I said that Flood deserved to finish this year and to lead Rutgers into the Big Ten.   In the weeks since, Rutgers football program has taken hit after hit.  From decommits, to blowout losses to the poor handling of off the field issues, it has become increasingly clear that Rutgers football might need to head in a different direction.  The handling of the head football coaching position will be the most important decision of embattled athletic director Julie Hermann’s very brief tenure at Rutgers.   

The candidates are listed below and ranked from one star (*) to four stars (****).  Excluding current coach Kyle Flood we looked at ten potential candidates.  Three were given ****, two received ***, four received ** and one received *

Current Head Coach:
Kyle Flood - Age 42
Recent Resume:
2012-2013 – Rutgers University Head Coach (14-8)
2005-2011 – Rutgers University - OL, OC, Assistant Head Coach
2002-2004 – Delaware OL
Contract:  $ - Has a contract that will pay him just under one million dollars next season.
Good Hire Because:  The team’s record since he has taken over isn’t a major cause for concern.  This year’s Rutgers team has been decimated by injury.  Flood runs a “clean” program in spite of the recent off the field "allegations".   
Bad Hire Because:  The 2013 season is in free fall.  The team can’t stop the pass and seems reluctant or unable to make any schematic changes both pre-game and in-game.  Known as a recruiter, the team has had a series of decommits in the past two weeks raising questions about Flood’s ability and his handling of what should be minor off the field issues tests his credibility.  The key question one has to ask with Kyle Flood is this:  If the job were open and he applied today would he get hired?  I don’t see how he does. 
Soothsayer Says:  Food had his chance and didn’t capitalize.  That being said he has three games left and if he wins out he may have earned the right to stay but at that point recruiting issues will need to be taken into account.  That seems possible but unlikely.  I think he will be a successful head coach down the line but not at Rutgers. 
Head Coaches of other Programs:
Craig Bohl – Age 55
Recent Resume:
2003-2013 – North Dakota State Head Coach (99-32) and two time national champion. 
1995-2002 – Nebraska – LB and DC (2000-2002)
Contract: $ - Would come cheap.  Made just over $350K including bonuses last year
Good Hire Because:  The guy can win.  At 38-2 over his last 40 games is there any doubt in that?  Hiring him would fit any budget,   although he has a buyout that could cost in the neighborhood of $400K that shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent.  He has Big Ten roots coaching at Nebraska as well as two seasons as LB coach at Wisconsin. 
Bad Hire Because:   Piscataway is a loooong way from Fargo.  Would he be able to handle the NY/NJ media?   His recruiting is really an unknown as plucking gems in the rough is not the type of program Rutgers would like to run.
Soothsayer Says:  He's a hell of an interesting candidate in the mold of Ohio State’s hire of Jim Tressel from Youngstown State but might be too risky and the cultural differences would be a lot to overcome.  

Soothsayer Ranking:  **
Dave Clawson – Age 46
Recent Resume:
2009-2013 – Bowling Green Head Coach (29-31)
2008 – Tennessee Offensive Coordinator
2004-2007 – Richmond Head Coach (29-20)
1999-2003 – Fordham Head Coach (29-29)
Contract: $ - Would come cheap.  Is paid $375K this year.
Good Hire Because:  Has served as a head coach for over ten years.  Has ties to the region as he is from New York and coached at Fodham.  A graduate of Williams College means he will be the smartest man in the room! 
Bad Hire Because:  Has only served at a major program (Tennessee) for one year and it was an unsuccessful stay.  His successes as a head coach have been mixed.  Career record of 87-80 is noting more than adequate. 
Soothsayer Says:  He has potential but Pete Lembo is on this list and is from the same mold and Lembo has accomplished more. 

Soothsayer Ranking:  *
Pete Lembo – Age 43
Recent Resume:
2011-2013 – Ball State Head Coach (24-12)
2006-2010 – Elon Head Coach (35-22)
2001-2005 – Lehigh Head Coach (44-14)
Contract: $ - Would come cheap.  Makes a base of $350K plus bonuses
Good Hire Because:  You did see he is 103-48 in his career didn’t you?  He has over a decade of head coaching experience and is only 43 years old.  Along with Fresno State’s Tim DeRuyter, he is considered by many to be one of the two hottest head coaching candidates from a non-power conference.   He is from New York and has ties to the region. 
Bad Hire Because:   He has no experience at a major program.  His coaching successes have all come at small programs and the Big Ten is a big step from the MAC. 
Soothsayer Says:  If you want a hot young mid-major coordinator he is a far better match for Rutgers then DeRuyter is.  He doesn’t bring name recognition yet but he can coach. 

Soothsayer Ranking:  ***
Tony Levine -  Age 41
Recent Resume:
2011-2013 – Houston Head Coach (13-10)
2008-2011 – Houston ST/TE/WR
2006-2007- Carolina Panthers Asst S&C and SC
2003-2005 – Louisville ST/OLB
Contract: $$ - is currently paid $900K this season. 
Good Hire Because:  He is currently a successful head coach and has worked with and under successful head coaches.  He has ties to the Big Ten from his playing days and the University of Minnesota.  Levine also served as GA at Auburn prior to stop at Louisville.   He has ties to current Rutgers Athletic Director Julie Hermann who served at the same time he was an assistant at Louisville. 
Bad Hire Because:  Levine has no real connection to the northeast and has really only one successful season as head coach under his belt.  He has no coordinating experience in his background. 
Soothsayer Says:  Levine would be a good hire.  His lack of connections to the northeast is not as big a concern as the lack of coordinating experience.  He would need to secure a big budget for a proven DC. 

Soothsayer Ranking:  ***

Bobby Petrino – Age 52
Recent Resume:
2013 – Western Kentucky Head Coach (6-4)
2008-2011 – Arkansas Head Coach (34-17)
2007 – Atlanta Falcons Head coach (3-10)
2003-2006 – Louisville Head Coach (41-9)
Contract:  $$ - is paid $850K plus bonuses this year. 
Good Hire Because:  The guy loves to win and he is a winner.   From his time at Louisville, he has ties to Rutgers’ current Athletic Director Julie Hermann and it would be interesting to know her take on Petrino.  The guy can flat out coach college football.   Look at the resume. 
Bad Hire Because:  Well if you don’t know Petrino comes with baggage you probably looking for Tarot cards on this site and not high level analysis.  Personal stuff aside, Petrino could and has literally jumped ship at a moment’s notice.   Here today, gone tomorrow.
Soothsayer Says:  Petrino is gonna bail at some point but if he leaves after a pair on nine win seasons in the Big Ten would Rutgers fans really be unhappy?  That being said, Rutgers can’t afford anymore baggage and should probably steer clear here. 
Soothsayer Ranking:  **

Coordinators of Other Programs:
Bob Diaco – Age 40
Recent Resume:
2010-2013 – Notre Dame DC
2009 – Cincinnati DC
2006-2008 – Virginia LB/ST
Contract: $$ - Diaco would command a mid-range salary coming from Notre Dame
Good Hire Because:  Diaco was the 2012 winner of the Broyles Award for the top assistant in college football.  He is a good defensive mind who has served at successful programs.  He played at Iowa so he knows the Big Ten and he was born in New Jersey so he has ties to the region.
Bad Hire Because:  Outside of 2012 his defenses has been above average but not stellar.  Diaco has a unique personality that Im not sure would mesh well with the NJ/NY media.  The fact that he has been interviewed as a HC and hasn’t had an offer is usually a red flag.  He has no head coaching experience at any level
Soothsayer Says:  Diaco is highly regarded in New Jersey but he hasn’t accomplished as much as many of the other candidates on this list.

Soothsayer Ranking:  **
Mike Groh – Age 41
Recent Resume:
2013 – Chicago Bears WR
2011-2012 – Alabama WR
2010 – Louisville QB
2006-2008 –Virginia OC
Contract: $ - NFL position coaches are rarely paid more then $500K
Good Hire Because:  Young energetic coach who has impressive college stops and a NFL gig in his short coaching career.  Played high school football in New Jersey so he has ties to the area.  Chicago Bears speak highly of their WR coach. 
Bad Hire Because:  No head coaching experience.  As offensive coordinator at Virginia he  was unsuccessful. 
Soothsayer Says:  A risky hire.  Could make a splash could be a flop.  Too much risk and not enough reward. 

Soothsayer Ranking:  **
Pat Narduzzi – Age 47
Recent Resume:
2007-2013 – Michigan State DC
2004-2006 – Cincinnati DC
2003 – Miami (OH) DC
Contract: $$ - Currently makes $500K. 
Good Hire Because:  Narduzzi can coach and he can recruit.  He currently leads the best defense in the country outside of Alabama.  He is from Connecticut originally so he should know the NJ/NY media. 
Bad Hire Because:  He can coach and recruit but can he lead a staff?   Narduzzi has no head coaching experience on his resume and a good coordinator does not always make a good head coach.
Soothsayer Says:  Narduzzi would be an excellent choice.  Every potential candidate has concerns. 

Soothsayer Ranking:  ****
Greg Roman – Age 41
Recent Resume:
2011-2013 – San Francisco 49ers OC
2009-2010 – Stanford OC
2006-2007 – Baltimore Ravens OC
Contract: $$$ - Would be in line for a big payday. 
Good Hire Because:  He is a legitimate NFL OC who is looking for a HC job.  He is from New Jersey so he is familiar with the region.  Was a reported finalist for the Penn State job. 
Bad Hire Because:  He has never been a HC.  Most of his career is in NFL coaching not college.  His college success was on the West Coast. 
Soothsayer Says:  Would he take this job?  Roman would be a high profile hire but it would take more money than Rutgers may be willing to ante up.  If he was interested Rutgers would have to take a long look at him.    

Soothsayer Ranking:  ****
Mel Tucker – Age 41
Recent Resume:
2013 – Chicago Bears DC
2009-2012 – Jacksonville Jaguars DC
2005-2008 – Cleveland Browns DC/DB
2001-2004 – Ohio State DC/DB
2000 – LSU DB
Contract: $$$ - Would be in line for a big payday
Good Hire Because:  Very well-liked by players and coaches.  Would be a huge hit and would have instant credibility in the Big Ten and amongst recruits.  Extensive coordinating experience.  From Ohio and played at Wisconsin so he has Big Ten roots.
Bad Hire Because:  No HC experience.  He would probably jump if the NFL came calling.  Most likely would not see Rutgers as a destination job.
Soothsayer Says:  Tucker would be a home-run but he wouldn’t be at Rutgers long.  Most see him as waiting on a NFL job at this point even though he has roots in the college game.  A fun candidate to consider but it would take a lot of money to get him.  

Soothsayer Ranking:  ****
Others considered for this list:  Mike Bajakian (Tennessee OC), Tom Bradley (PSU DC), David Cutcliffe (Duke HC) Tim DeRuyter (Fresno HC),  Bud Foster (VT DC), Pep Hamilton (Colts OC –seems NFL HC bound), Tom Herman (OSU OC)
The Soothsayer Says:
Tucker and Roman seem like long-shots put I included them on this list in case Rutgers miraculously comes up with the money needed to attract a huge name.   Again if Rutgers wins out Flood could stay. 
1.  Tucker   2.  Narduzzi   3.  Roman   4.  Levine    5.  Lembo