Interview with Rutgers Head Football Coach Greg Schiano - Part 1 of 6
On June 5th, Mike Fasano and I had the pleasure of interviewing the Head Coach of Rutgers football Greg Schiano. The interview lasted approximately two hours. We had the chance to obtain his comments on his philosphy, recruiting success, how he will continue to improve the program, future of the program, improvements to the facilities, coaching additions, and how he will build a championship program at Rutgers. The interview was informative and enlightening. We hope that you enjoy the interview and obtain some insight into the program.
Mike Fasano: You started at Rutgers under Dick Anderson. How did that come about?
Greg Schiano: I was an assistant coach for Mike Miello at Ramapo High School and I had known Dick Anderson all my life. My parents and he went to high school together. So I spoke to him and made it known to him my intention to coach. Although earlier, I did not know that I wanted this as a profession until midway through that high school season. I was intending on taking the LSAT and attend law school. As time went on, I found myself watching more tape (back then it was 16 millimeter film) than studying my LSAT book. At the time, I realized that this was something that I can do for a living. I was fortunate enough to find out Dick (Anderson) had an opening in January. He hired me as a graduate assistant coach. At that time, there were five graduate assistant coaches compared to now where there are only two. It was fortunate for a young guy to get that opportunity at a Division I school.
Mike Fasano: After a brief period of time, you obtain an even better opportunity. You received the opportunity to coach under Joe Paterno. How did this come about?
Greg Schiano: Dick (Anderson) went back to Penn State after he left here. They were looking for a graduate assistant at Penn State. Dick recommended my name to Joe (Paterno). Joe brought me out there, talked to me, and offered me the job. In June of the following year, the guy who I was a graduate assistant under took a job as the defensive coordinator at Clemson. I was named the secondary coach. I had just turn 25 years old.
Mike Fasano: Joe Paterno is one of the legends of the game. You coached under him for six years. How was it coaching under someone like Joe Paterno?
Greg Schiano: It was a great learning experience. There were so many things that I did not know and it was not only Coach Paterno. It was Jerry Sandusky, Dick Anderson, and guys like that. It grew from big games and big seasons. It was not only X's, O's, or scheme-wise but it was everything. It was Jim Carwell and Fran Gantner, and all the guys. They taught you how to recruit, how you handle yourself as a Division I coach, and all those things. I just kept my mouth shut and learned. When it came to my position (the secondary), I tried to become an expert.
Donald "Big Dog" Forbes: On top of working for Joe Paterno and Dick Anderson, you worked for Dave Wannstedt and Butch Davis. Which one of these coaches or any coach has been the biggest influence on you and why?
Greg Schiano: I think the two most influential have been Mike Miello, who I worked for first. He was the one, without pushing me in that direction showed me that this is something that I would like to do for a living and a career. The second is Butch Davis. He most readied me to be a head football coach. When I came from the NFL to take the position with him, he told me that I would be involved in areas where a coordinator would normally not be involved in. He allowed me to handle all of the discipline with the defense. He let me do everything with the defense. In addition, he involved me and instructed me about fundraising. Some of it we agreed on, others he took me under his wing and did it. So we were really close friends along with his wife and mine. I learned a lot in two years, not only about football but about what it takes and how you handle yourself to be a head football coach. There were other opportunities before the Rutgers job, there were a few calls about other things and we would talk through it. He was really a good friend.
Donald "Big Dog" Forbes: You do a great deal of reading and have been a part of some great programs. Is there a program or aspect(s) of a program that you model your program after?
Greg Schiano: It is more the latter. I took bits and pieces from all of the places where I have been, we are a culmination of our experiences. When I left Ramapo High School to work at Rutgers, Coach Miello gave me some great advice. He said that you are going to work for a lot of great people, no matter how great a coach or bad a coach, there are things that you would love at he does and there will be things that you really do not like. He said to take great notes and prepare. You will be a head coach some day and you would want to keep great records as you go a long, so you can take what you like and discard what you don't. This rang true in my mind. I read a lot, so it is not only the guys that I worked for. I will read clinic manuals, talk to people, and never turn down an opportunity to watch someone practice. When I was growing up in coaching, I would like and watch professional teams practice - before I was a pro coach. This was to see how they handled themselves, the different drills, and all that kind of stuff. It was not limited to X's and O's. To be a complete coach, you need to study those areas. All the people and all the places I have been, this program is a sum total of those along with my faith and belief. That is what Rutgers Football is all about.
Mike Fasano: I have seen you handle players in various ways. Sometimes you get on them, sometimes you encourage them. Was this theory of motivation developed from you or someone else?
Greg Schiano: My biggest theory of motivation is trust. If they trust, then when you get on them they know that you love them and when you congratulate them, they know that you love them. If there is not that trust, when you get on