Rutgers Coach Reacts to Paterno News

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Emotional after learning of Penn State coach Joe Paterno's planned retirement, former PSU assistant and 11-year Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano spoke with the media about his thoughts on the situation on Wednesday.

On his way off the Rutgers practice field in the morning, Schiano received the news that Paterno, his mentor, will retire at the end of the season in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

Schiano, who spent six years with Penn State as a graduate assistant and defensive backs coach, said he is sad to see Paterno not be able to go out on his own terms.

"I know, eventually, it's going to happen," Schiano said. "It's just very hard under these circumstances. . . . As I said Monday, I don't think you need a whole lot of people talking about what's going on out there. It's a very keen subject right now, but I just feel it's better staying out. I'll be rooting for coach Paterno. Hopefully he has a great end to these next couple of weeks."

After graduating from Bucknell University in 1988, Schiano spent one year as a high school assistant and one year as a graduate assistant at Rutgers before Paterno hired him to work at Penn State in 1990, also as a graduate assistant.

Before the next season, Paterno promoted Schiano to defensive backs coach, a position he held until leaving for the NFL in 1996 to be a defensive assistant with the Chicago Bears.

"He gave me a chance," Schiano said of Paterno. "I was a 25-year-old kid. He gave me a chance and hired me as a full-time coach at one of the top programs in the country. It certainly gave my career a jump-start to say the least and I learned a ton working under him for six years. He's been a mentor of mine. He and Sue (Paterno's wife) and the whole Paterno family have been great to Christy (Schiano's wife) and myself and our family."

Schiano's name has in the past come up as a potential successor to Paterno, but that is unlikely to happen now as the school is likely to target coaches with no previous ties to Penn State.

When asked about the job, Schiano stated he remains committed to Rutgers.

"I don't even get into it," Schiano said. "I really don't. We have a lot of work to do. We're going to build a championship program here. That hasn't changed, contrary to some belief. Trust me, we're building a championship program here. Maybe sooner than you think."

Schiano said he has yet to reach out to Paterno since news of the scandal broke because, "In these situations, he doesn't need one more phone call. He knows I care about him."

When asked about working as an assistant coach under the Sandusky, Schiano took the high road and explained why he does not want to comment publicly.

"Because of the situation being what it is, I'm not even going (to talk about) it," Schiano said. "I'm so far removed. . . .Again, you don't need people making commentaries on things like this. It's just a sad, sad thing."

Instead, Schiano said, his focus will be on Army, this weekend's opponent for the Scarlet Knights (6-3, 3-2), as he believes that is what Paterno wants.

"I love coach Paterno, so am I emotional? Yeah," Schiano said. "This is a hard thing for him. I'm sure. I know it is. It hurts me when someone you love hurts. But other than that, I have a job to do and he'd want me to do nothing else, but take care of my team. Joe's not a big sentimental. He is, but he isn't. ‘Do your job kid.' That's what he would say."

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