Rutgers Fires Football Coach, NJ Native Takes the Reins for Now
PISCATAWAY – Rutgers University has fired both head football coach, Chris Ash, and offensive coordinator, John McNulty, with an NJ native stepping up to steer the team for the rest of this fall.
Nunzio Campanile has been promoted from tight ends coach to interim head coach for the remainder of the season, according to Rutgers athletics director Pat Hobbs in a written statement Sunday, a day after the Scarlet Knights were blown out by Michigan, 52-0.
Ash had an 8-32 record overall since becoming the Scarlet Knights head coach four years ago.
Campanile, a Fair Lawn native, is in his second year on the Rutgers coaching staff.
He previously spent eight seasons as the head football coach at Bergen Catholic, including winning a state title in 2017. Before that he worked as offensive coordinator at Don Bosco Prep for nine seasons through 2009.
He's a graduate of Paramus Catholic High School and Montclair University.
"We appreciate Chris's dedicated efforts on behalf of our football program, our department and our University," Hobbs said. "This change is especially difficult because of the steadfast commitment that Chris and his family have made to our student-athletes. Progress has been achieved in many areas, but, unfortunately, that progress has not been realized on the field of play. As such, it is in the best interest of the program to make a change."
According to the same release, the terms of Ash's and McNulty's contracts will be honored by Rutgers Athletics, "exclusively using department-generated funds."
Ash signed a five-year, $11 million contract in December 2015 and then a five-year extension that ran through winter 2023. As reported by Forbes.com and HeroSports.com, the school owes him $7.5 million.
NJ.com reported the athletics department also owes McNulty about $900,00 as part of his buyout.
A national search for a new head coach will take place, with additional details forthcoming, Hobbs said.
On social media, there's plenty of buzz and speculation about a return to Rutgers for former coach, Greg Schiano. The NJ native served as head football coach at Rutgers from 2001 to 2011.
Schiano most recently was hired by the New England Patriots, but stepped down in late March from the coaching roster there to "recalibrate my priorities," as reported by NFL.com.