One of Flood's first moves as Rutgers head coach came in the promotion of Cole to head strength and conditioning coach. Cole worked under Butler for three years and had the respect of the players even before his promotion.
"It's a very fortunate circumstance to work for a man like Coach Flood, so I'm enjoying the whole transition," said Cole, who is two months into his new role. "The whole process is something that's always been a dream of mine and when you can get to do what you want to do, and you do it for someone who really wants you, it's like a no-brainer. It's like Heaven. It's a great, great opportunity. It's a great opportunity to get these young guys better and get them in the position to better themselves on and off the field."
Cole was an assistant strength coach at Rutgers since 2008 and, before that, had similar stints with North Carolina, Kansas and the Indianapolis Colts. Cole was with the Colts from 2005-06, during a Super Bowl victory.
Though he has nearly a decade of experience, Cole is a head strength and conditioning coach for the first time, which means an adjustment period.
"The whole couple months has been somewhat different, but at the same time, it's been a learning experience," Cole said. "To be honest, I've always seen myself in this position. When you dream and you motivate yourself and you work hard and have a good support system, you're prepared for these opportunities because you want them. It's something that you really want."
Cole credits Butler with many of the lessons learned in how to run a strength program. Though the two are no longer co-workers, they frequently speak on the phone to compare notes and talk shop.
"He's definitely been supportive," Cole said. "He's there with anything I need. I definitely appreciate that. He's really helped me with the understanding amongst other people that have helped me in this business. He's a great influence. Now being the director, he's let me know things to watch for and how to go about handling those situations."
Cole has great respect for Butler, he said, but that does not mean he will refrain from putting his own twist on strength and conditioning.
Flood runs the program with a different edge than Schiano and Cole will do the same in the weight room.
"You want to keep the things that the guys are used to, but at the same time, you do want to put your own mark on the things that you do," Cole said. "Everyone's a different person. I definitely appreciate everything that Jay Butler has done for me and done for this program. It speaks volumes.
"I take what I learned from him as a professional and I try to grow from that and build off of that and put my own little personality and twist on things. What he's taught me, I can't speak enough about the love there."
One of the benefits of Cole's position within the program is that he is one of the first to work hands on with incoming recruiting classes. As head of the strength and conditioning program, Cole monitors all on-campus workouts of the signed recruits set to join the program this summer.
Don Bosco Prep defensive lineman Darius Hamilton and Long Branch offensive lineman Ryan Brodie come weekly to Piscataway for workouts and plenty of other signees stop by when possible.
"It's been a great thing to see those guys come in and really gain unity as an incoming class," Cole said. "That's been a great thing. Don't get me wrong, we're going to teach the incoming class as a whole, but the guys that are working out now, kind of get to brush up and get a little head start."
Speaking specifically on Hamilton and Brodie, Cole is impressed with the work ethic shown thus far.
"I'm not going to put a crown on a guy and call him king when he shows up," Cole said. "At the same time, these guys are very good looking guys. You can tell they've been working out. You can tell they've been taking care of their bodies and they've been doing the necessary things to put themselves in a great position to come here and succeed.
"I'm very, very glad that guys like Darius Hamilton are taking care of their bodies and doing the necessary things to be here. I'm very, very pleased with that."