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Rutgers Fans, Boosters Pull Support for Athletic Director

Brock Fritz

Rutgers University football fans and boosters are fed up after the school reportedly couldn’t come to terms with head coaching candidate Greg Schiano.

Since Yahoo’s Pete Thamel reported Sunday that the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement, former players and fans have expressed their displeasure, including creating a petition to remove Pat Hobbs as athletic director, while boosters have pulled their support.

The petition, posted Sunday night on Change.org, had over 2,600 signatures as of Wednesday morning, state that “After suffering through Pat Hobbs’s terrible first hire, Chris Ash, for three years, Rutgers fans were dealt another blow when Hobbs sabotaged the perfect hire. Greg Schiano would have delivered instant credibility and excitement to a program that has become the doormat of the Big Ten under Hobbs’s watch. The Athletics Department continues to find itself navigating abuse scandals, and Pat even had the audacity to verbally assault a reporter from the Star Ledger. Pat must go. He is an incompetent leader. Rutgers nation has lost confidence and trust in him.”

According to NJ.com, donor Doug Dolan, the president of the Rutgers Touchdown Club, sent “I’m done” in an email to Rutgers’ fundraising team.

“I’m giving up my tickets. I’m giving up all my giving. And I’m taking Rutgers out of my will,’’ Dolan told NJ Advance Media. “We’re really in a bad situation with the football program. And while it is possible that someone else over time can fix it, Greg is the only person who knows what needs to be done.

“I’m terribly disappointed in Pat Hobbs. This has been a train wreck hurdling towards a cliff for a while now. I don’t know everything that’s gone on behind the scenes. But my opinion is, the way things have fallen apart, Hobbs needs to pay for this with his job. I don’t believe he knows what’s necessary to run a major college football program.’’

Rutgers has been searching for a new head coach since firing Chris Ash, who went 8-32 in three-plus years, on Sept. 29, the day after a 52-0 loss at Michigan dropped the Scarlet Knights to 1-3. It hasn’t gotten better under interim coach Nunzio Campanile, as Rutgers is 2-9 entering Saturday’s season-ending game at Penn State. Rutgers’ only wins are a 48-21 home win over UMass (1-11) on Aug. 30, and a 44-34 home win over Liberty (6-5) on Oct. 26.

The Scarlet Knights haven’t won a Big Ten Conference game since notching a 31-24 home win over Maryland on Nov. 4, 2017. They lost their next 20 conference games, including all eight this season by an average of 35.4 points per game.

Schiano is the natural choice to turn the program back around. He put together a 68-67 record as Rutgers’ head coach from 2001-2011, including winning records in six of his last seven seasons. The Scarlet Knights won five bowl games between 2006 and 2011.

Schiano left to take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job, where he lasted for two years. Rutgers went 27-24 under Kyle Flood from 2012-15, including winning the 2014 Quick Lane Bowl, their last bowl appearance.

Yahoo reported that Rutgers interviewed Schiano on Nov. 5. The coach told officials they needed to increase staff salaries and upgrade facilities in order to compete in the Big Ten. Stadium’s Brett McMurphy reported that Schiano was offered an eight-year, $32 million contract – $25.2 million of which was fully guaranteed. But the school reportedly didn’t agree to make all the commitments Schiano felt necessary to improve the program.

“You can’t blame Rutgers for not allocating more money or the Board of Governors for being concerned about his unprecedented request and the financial impact of the contract,” a source told McMurphy. “And you can’t blame Schiano for not wanting to go back to a job he’s already done. Been there, done that.”

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