Schiano's Weekly Press Conference

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – When Rutgers football head coach Greg Schiano first arrived here, he faced an uphill coaching battle, none more eventful than dealing with the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

"It was a Tuesday, we were game planning for Cal, my first season," he told reporters during Monday's weekly press conference. "I remember it vividly. The secretary came in and said that a small plane had hit the World Trade Center, and then she came in shortly thereafter and said that it wasn't a small plane."

The Scarlet Knights confronted adversity on that day.

"Then we rallied the troops, and one of our players, his mother worked in the World Trade Center, but fortunately she didn't go into work that day," Schiano said.

Like the rest of the American population.

"For everybody in the New York Metropolitan area, for everyone in the country, there was a lot of scurrying around that day, trying to find out information," Schiano said. "One of our coaches at the time, his wife was in New York City that day, so he was trying to get in touch with her. It was plenty of craziness that day."

ESPN scheduled the Rutgers-North Carolina contest on Sept. 11, 2008, in a few days, which will honor the 9-11 victims with respective pregame and halftime commemorations.

Although RU (0-1) will host the game, Schiano has yet to discuss its significance with his players, but will, soon.

"I have not talked to them about that and I will in the next day or two," he said, "because there will be some ceremonial things before the game that we will be a part of. When you grow up around here and when you live here, which a lot of players do, everybody has their own personal memories and their own personal tragedies that occurred during 9-11."

The upcoming contest also pits Schiano against UNC head coach Butch Davis, Schiano's former boss at The University of Miami.

"The matchup between me and Butch is the least of it," Schiano said. "It's the players and the coaches. I am glad for Butch because he seems to be in a place that he enjoys and a place that he likes coaching, and he means a lot to me, so if he's happy that's a good thing."

Both former Hurricanes coordinators also worked in the National Football League, before they returned to the collegiate ranks.

"I haven't really studied it to say if it's a trend or not," Schiano said of advancing to the NFL realm. "I know for me personally it was what I wanted to do, it was the career and the way of life I wanted.

"I think Butch is happy to be where he is right now. The thing that I love about it is being able to help young people grow into men, and that's not the case in the NFL. That's what is really appealing to me."

Rutgers visited Carolina (1-0) in the 2006 season opener and earned a 21-16 victory that sparked the historical sequence of events: 11-2 record (6-0 at Rutgers Stadium), limelight and eventual bowl win.

"At the time we didn't know it was the start of something big, but history would say that it did," Schiano said of the first win of ‘06. "I thought that it was an important win for us, the way it happened was important."

Although seven years have almost passed since the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the memories have not been forgotten.

A moment of silence will honor the victims prior to kickoff; then it's back to business for Schiano and the Scarlet Knights.

"So far we have had some good preparation after what was a tough loss," Schiano said. "I think our guys are preparing the right way to get ready for North Carolina."

Scarlet Report Top Stories