"Coach Schiano's performance this year embodies all that we strive to celebrate through our award: integrity, sportsmanship and unwavering responsibility to his student-athletes and community, accomplishing all while delivering outstanding results on the field," said Ted Kelly, Liberty Mutual Group chairman, president, and chief executive officer.
Schiano will receive $100,000 from Liberty Mutual to support his civic and charitable activities. In addition, Liberty Mutual will grant $20,000 in scholarship to the Rutgers University Alumni Relations Program.
"This award means so much because it not only celebrates our 2006 season, but also the way we have built our football program with young men of character, sportsmanship and integrity," said Schiano. "Rutgers football is on the map to stay, and we will continue to recruit and develop student-athletes who understand their roles and responsibilities, not only on the playing field but in the classroom and in their communities as well."
Schiano led 16th-ranked Rutgers (10-2) this year to only its second 10-win campaign in its 137-season history, just five years after taking over a program that had gone 11-44 from 1996-2000 and hadn't had a winning season since 1992. During the 2006 season, Rutgers climbed into the top 10 for the first time in school history, and the Scarlet Knights' 28-25 victory over then third-ranked Louisville was the school's first-ever win over a top five team. The December 28th Texas Bowl game against Kansas State will mark the first time in school history that Rutgers makes consecutive post-season appearances. In 2005, Schiano directed the Scarlet Knights to a 7-5 season and their first bowl appearance in 27 years.
Off the field, Schiano demonstrates great commitment to his players' success in the classroom and in the community. Each student-athlete meets daily with their position coach and/or student advisor to ensure they are current with their academic responsibilities. He also mobilizes his players and coaches for positive impact in the community through everyday, practical ways. For example, team members visit the local middle schools where players speak on the importance of education and establishing a balance in life. Under his tenure, all proceeds from the annual Scarlet-White spring game support children's wards at New Brunswick hospitals. Coach Schiano himself is a regular visitor at these hospitals to spend time with the young patients.
"Being a college football coach brings responsibility that reaches far beyond the hash marks it's a responsibility that Coach Schiano truly embraces, and uses to positively influence everyone that he and those that represent his program interact with each day," said Mr. Kelly. "He is a great choice as the first Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year. We look forward to celebrating responsible coaching again in 2007."
Schiano outscored nine other finalists on ballots cast by the voting committee on six distinct on- and off-the-field criteria. In addition, fan votes cast November 6-20 at www.coachoftheyear.com contributed to a coach's overall score. These finalists were, in alphabetical order: Mack Brown (Texas), Lloyd Carr (Michigan), Danny Hale (Bloomsburg), Bobby Petrino (Louisville), Bob Stoops (Oklahoma), Jeff Tedford (California), Mel Tjeerdsma (Northwest Missouri State), Jim Tressel (Ohio State) and Tommy Tuberville (Auburn).
Media voters included: Colin Cowherd (ESPN Radio), Keith Jackson (ABC Sports, retired), Dan Jenkins (Sports Illustrated/College Football Hall of Fame historian), Stewart Mandel (CNN-SI.com), Tim Brando (CBS Sports, Sporting News Radio), Craig Bennett (USA Today), Ivan Maisel (ESPN.com), Teddy Greenstein (Chicago Tribune), Bill King (Rivals Sports Network/Sirius Radio), and Bud Withers (Seattle Times). Hall of Fame voters include: Terry Donohue, LaVell Edwards, Archie Griffin, Bo Jackson, Ron Johnson (Chair, National Football Foundation), Gordie Lockbaum, Archie Manning, Don Nehlen, Tom Osborne, Jim Sochor, and Herschel Walker.