Nov. 25, 2006
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Rutgers coach Greg Schiano has no plans on leaving New Jersey despite reports that he is one of the leading contenders to replace Larry Coker at Miami.
Three questions into his postgame news conference after Rutgers' win over Syracuse on Saturday, and a little more than 24 hours after Coker was fired, Schiano addressed the Miami job.
"My philosophy is I focus on the things I have control over and can make a difference in," said Schiano, who transformed Rutgers (10-1, 5-1 Big East) from one the lowliest programs into a national contender in six seasons. "The whole Miami thing, I've said it for six weeks, I'm very happy here, I have no plans to go anywhere else."
Schiano, though, never said he was staying at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey.
The 40-year-old Schiano, who was the Hurricanes' defensive coordinator before taking the Rutgers job in December 2000, has faced questions about a potential opening at Miami for more than a month.
Each time, he has said he is happy at Rutgers, where he has posted a 29-40 record.
"I've said what I said about this place," Schiano said. "I'm not going to talk about other jobs. This is a special place to me. This is where I want to be. We're going to leave it at that.
"I want to take the focus off of me and that job," he added. "This is my job. Rutgers is my job. At this place, the sky's the limit and I plan on being here to see it."
With its 38-7 victory over Syracuse, Rutgers is on the verge of its first Big East Conference title and a berth in the Bowl Championship Series.
All the Scarlet Knights have to do is beat No. 7 West Virginia on the road next weekend.
Schiano has already talked to his team about the Miami speculation, but said he would talk to them again if it became a distraction.
The players seemed certain that Schiano was staying.
"He told us the same thing he told you guys: 'I love Rutgers. I plan on being here.' That's enough for me," senior fullback Brian Leonard said. "I don't see him going nowhere. He built this program up and he's a Jersey guy."
Last year, Schiano led Rutgers to its first winning season (7-5) since 1992, and its first bowl berth since 1978.
Miami, though, could offer Schiano a lot more money.
Schiano has a base salary of $250,000 and guarantees that push his package to $875,000. With incentives this year, he could earn $1.3 million. His buyout would only cost a future employer $250,000.
Coker was earning $2 million annually at Miami.
Even so, Rutgers players don't see Schiano leaving.
"Coach Schiano has told us he has built a home here, his family loves it here and he's not going anywhere," defensive tackle Eric Foster said. "We don't worry about it. From that point on, we don't worry about it."