NJ Legend, Friend Stengel "Elated" for Flood

If it were not for long-time Bergen Catholic head coach Fred Stengel, Kyle Flood would unlikely be in position to formally take over the Rutgers football program today. Forging a decade-long relationship, Stengel helped get Flood on staff in 2004 and reacted to his friend's huge promotion with elation yesterday afternoon when the news broke.

When Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti chose Kyle Flood as his head football coach yesterday, many in the Rutgers community celebrated.

From recruits, to team members to coaches, Flood's succession of Greg Schiano with the Scarlet Knights is being met with enthusiasm across most of New Jersey, especially for a close friend in Bergen County.

"To be honest, he's just a man's man," said long-time Bergen Catholic head coach Fred Stengel. "He doesn't back down. He's honest and just one of the really good people that I know. He has the right personality for the job and I'm, honestly, just elated that he has worked so hard for this and it's his."

Stengel is the former head coach at Bergen Catholic, where he led one of the Garden State's top programs for 22 years and compiled a 192-49 record and nine state championships.

Back in 2004 when Schiano was looking for an offensive line coach, after Mario Cristobal left for Miami, he was "stumped" during the process, according to Stengel.

When Schiano's initial candidates did not pan out for various reasons, Stengel passed a relatively unknown coach that just helped Delaware become an FCS national champion.

"I had said to him, ‘you know, I think I got the right guy for you,"' Stengel said. "Kyle and I knew one another through recruiting going all the way back to Hofstra and then at Delaware. I had said to Greg, ‘I think this is a guy who could do a tremendous job for you.' He had some other people in mind and went through the whole process, but sooner or later it came down to Kyle."

When Stengel read the news that his friend got the interim tag dropped from his title at Rutgers, it was one of the happier moments in recent memory, he said.

"I am just thrilled. He's a long, long, long, long-time friend of mine," Stengel said. "I just found out on the Internet and it says ‘Kyle Flood is now the head coach.' That's how I always find out about these things these days. And I called my daughter.

"She was elated because she works the clinic also and she knows Kyle very well. He's spoken at my offensive line clinic for 12 years and he's become a really good friend. I'm just elated. I guess that's the correct word. I'm elated. I think he's done a tremendous job of recruiting Bergen County from all the time that I was coaching at Bergen Catholic and he is just the complete package. He really handles himself well. He's an outstanding recruiter and he's a real smart-working football mind."

Still elated last night while speaking about the decision, Stengel made sure it was known that Flood has his full endorsement as a head coach.

"I think it's a tremendous choice for Rutgers because it's going to continue the continuity of a program that Greg has built and I just think he'll do a great job," Stengel said. "He's done a tremendous job for Rutgers for a long time. He's so much more than an offensive line coach. He's a really bright guy. There aren't very many head coaches in Division I football that are math majors. He's a very bright guy."

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