Worth The Wait?

"This is only a step," stated Rutgers Athletic Director Robert Mulcahy in reference to Rutgers' first likely Bowl invitation since the defunct Garden State Bowl. Trying to appear calm and unaffected proved fruitless. Emotional and thankful would have been a more appropriate way to describe Mulcahy hours before only a Notre Dame victory still stood in the way of Rutgers' Dec. 27th showdown versus Arizona State in the Insight Bowl.

"I can't tell you how happy I am for these seniors, the coaching staff, the players. This is what we have always dreamed we could get to but it's only the first step," stated Rutgers Athletic Director Robert Mulcahy.

Mulcahy was brought to Rutgers as a savior of sorts. His bussiness savvy would help get the foundation-less Rutgers athletic program on the right path.

Truly from rags to riches. No stadium turf. No scoreboard. No training facility to speak of. And certainly, no successful recent history you could allude to.

"I commend the 19 seniors who came here, as I do the coach, who came here with nothing but hope, because at that point we didn't have it," Mulcahy continued, pausing frequently as he tried to keep from getting too emotional.

"Everybody had to take a ... had to take a risk, without knowing. I know when I went to interview coaches there was a great deal of speculation in the coahing fraternity as to whether there was anybody that could come here and win. And there were a lot of people who weren't interested in the job."

"So, it took a unique person to get it done and Greg is that unique person. I think it's going to bring some pride and certainly prestige to our program."

"It was nice to do it in style today, with some class, and so I commend our players, I commend our coaching staff, and most of all I commend Greg Schiano for the job that he's done to get where we are today."

The first 7-victory season in over a decade.

The first 4-victory Big East season ever.

The first Bowl Invitation (pending, but certainly, just a formality) since ... put it this way - I was merely one year old at the time.

Perhaps the single greatest characteristic of Mulcahy's was to see, alongside the man he would eventually hire, Greg Schiano, what none else could see. Sure, Mulcahy is a business man through and through, has profound knowledge of this geographical area and its demographics, but most importantly, he has the intimate understanding of not only embellishing the ugly duckling he inherited, but of realizing the potential in it no one else sees.

A coaching graveyard. A job you cannot win at.

Five years later, the foundation solid, Rutgers fans are preparing for the sunny skies of Phoenix, Arizona.

When no one else would even take a look, Robert Mulcahy and Greg Schiano did. And that ugly duckling is no longer the butt of jokes. Something is happening in New Jersey, an awakening of sorts.

As if not to get too ahead of himself, clad in a quite fitting Insight Bowl jacket, Mulcahy would add once more, as if only to remind everyone of what the ultimate goal is:

"This is only a step."

Please send any comments to Matei -- mgeorge@rutgersfootball.com. In the meantime, if you would like to discuss any aspect of Rutgers athletics with other Rutgers fans, please visit our message boards.

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