Rutgers Football: Coaching Staff

A new season is dawning, which means renewed hopes, expectations and unanswered questions. SOR will attempt to fill in the gaps of where Rutgers football stands heading into the 2008 campaign. Today's installment: coaching staff.

Rutgers is one of the few programs in college football to remain consistent year to year in its coaching staff. However, this season is an exception, as RU saw considerable turnover in the coaching ranks during the offseason. The Scarlet Knights welcome five new coaches to the staff this season and saw several key departures.

Head coach Greg Schiano is back for his eighth season on the Banks. The most important coach in recent Rutgers history has compiled a 38-46 record and a 26-12 mark over the last three years that has included back to back bowl victories the last two seasons. Schiano took over a moribund program and brought it to respectability.

Key returning assistant coaches:
Associate athletics director/head strength and conditioning coach Jay Butler. When he arrived at Rutgers with Schiano, Butler made a damning remark about the state of Rutgers' football program. In 2001 the former director of speed, strength and conditioning of Division I-AA Dartmouth told reporters that RU's players were weaker than their Dartmouth components. He is a key behind-the-scenes contributor to the program.

Assistant head coach/offensive line coach Kyle Flood. Flood was elevated to assistant head coach after handling the offensive line the last three seasons and acting as the run game coordinator last year. Flood worked with the most prolific offensive line in Rutgers history the last two seasons and is charged with bringing along a new set of talented players.

Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach John McNulty. In his first year as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, McNulty guided a team that set the school mark for most yards and points in a season. He also helped quarterback Mike Teel set the school record for yards in a season. This is his fifth season as a Rutgers coach.

Recruiting coordinator/tight ends coach Joe Susan. Susan and Butler are the two remaining coaches from Schiano's original staff in 2001. He has been responsible for bringing in greater talent each season during his seven previous seasons on the Banks.

Key additions:
Special teams coordinator Chris Rippon. Rippon replaces outgoing Darren Rizzi, who took the head coaching job at Rhode Island in the offseason. He brings plenty of experience to Rutgers, and he served as the special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach at Mississippi the last three seasons. Rippon also spent 12 years at Syracuse, including four years as the defensive coordinator from 1999-2003.

Secondary coach Ed Pinkham. Pinkham spent 10 years at Colgate as a secondary coach, defensive coordinator and associate head coach. Colgate's defense was among the nation's best during his tenure.

Wide receivers coach Kirk Ciarrocca. Ciarrocca comes to Rutgers to direct the most talented group of players on the team. He was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Delaware and helped develop National Football League quarterback Joe Flacco, a first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.

Running backs coach Gary Brown. The former Penn State standout steps up to Rutgers after spending the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pa. He also brings real NFL experience to the table after an eight-year career in the league.

Key losses:
Special teams coordinator/outside linebackers coach Darren Rizzi. Rizzi is now the head coach at his alma mater, Rhode Island, after spending seven seasons at Rutgers, including last year as the associate head coach.

Defensive line coach Gary Godette. Godette helped develop defensive standout Eric Foster into a pro prospect before retiring at the end of last season. Godette spent 20 years as an assistant coach on the college and pro level.

Defensive backs coach Chris Demarest. The 2007 season got off to a rocky start for Demarest in an off-field incident. Demarest, who had been with Rutgers since 2004, resigned in March. He leaves behind the deepest unit on the defense.

Running backs coach Craig Ver Steeg. He spent his first four years at Rutgers as the offensive coordinator before being shifted to running backs last season. Ver Steeg is now the offensive assistant for the Baltimore Ravens.

Other changes:
Chris Hewitt moved from director of speed and skill development to cornerbacks coach. . . . Wide receivers coach Robert Jackson retired after 22 years in the college ranks. . . . Gary Emanuel, with more than 20 years of coaching experience, replaces Godette. . . . Mike O'Connor was promoted from graduate assistant to linebackers coach.

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