Pernetti's Former Coaches Comment

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – With a new athletic director at the helm, critics immediately raised questions of accountability, relationships and conflict of interest. Two of Tim Pernetti's former coaches and friends only praised the new hire.

"I am extremely proud of Tim," said Mike Miello, a former Rutgers football assistant coach during Pernetti's years as tight end and his high school coach at Ramapo.

Former Scarlet Knights head coach Doug Graber (1990-1995) echoed those thoughts about Pernetti.

"I think he was with me for three years," Graber said. "Tim is one of those really special guys if you had a chance to coach, you'd never forget him. He's a class act, always was. He comes from a great family.

"He's very smart and a very smart football player. I think he's an absolute wonderful choice for Rutgers. I'm happy for Rutgers, Tim and Greg Schiano. I think it was a no brainer."

Although Tim came from a more non-traditional background, considering he didn't previously work an athletics department or in fund raising, both friends supported the decision.

"Anyone who is not supportive doesn't understand athletics and where Rutgers is going," Miello said. "I've been around for 40 years in coaching so I know where Rutgers has had success in sports. Where they're going, he's the right person to lead them there."

"Absolutely," said Graber about hiring Pernetti himself had he been on the search committee. "Tim and I have remained close even after I left Rutgers, and I was in the TV business myself so we always had things to talk about. He's got a nice family. I think it's a great choice for that job…I really want to see Rutgers do well. I'm a Rutgers guy and I pull for Rutgers and want to see him do well."

Pernetti was a vice president at CBS Sports before accepting the position. Prior to that, he worked at ABC Sports. Pernetti also called football games on the radio.

"It used to be that athletic directors were retired coaches, a long time ago. Now their role has changed dramatically," Graber said. "They're businessmen. The real successful ones are businessmen. College athletics has become a big business. He has the people skills, the business background, and he's been dealing with college athletics all of these years, even though he hasn't been on a college campus. He understands business."

What about Pernetti's close relationship with Greg Schiano, which dates back to his childhood days in Wyckoff?

"No. absolutely not," Miello said. "I hope you type this word for word because that's the question that keeps popping up. Anyone who criticizes their relationship or tries to make innuendos about it, those are the same cynics and critics that would be criticizing anything and everybody 10 years from now. Those people just love to criticize.

"You have a guy here who just got hired by a 25 to 30 person committee. He sure didn't fool all of them. This guy got hired because he's the best."

Graber said the relationship is "nothing but a positive" for the program and university to continue moving forward.

If there is one thing that stands out about Pernetti, Miello couldn't decide. Miello said Pernetti had lost his father at a young age, forcing him to quickly mature, and now has a family of his own, with a wife and three children.

"Well, all of the above," Miello said. "His work ethic is unparalleled, he was a great competitor, and very independent in the sense that Tim and his brothers lost their dad at a young age. They had to take over the household and he went from middle school to adulthood really quickly. That's probably one of the things that have made him so successful. Plus he has been his own man for a long time. He climbed that ladder in the corporate media world really quickly.

"For Rutgers to land him as the AD, that was a tremendous hire for the university."


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