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Friday, January 27, 2012
Who's next for Rutgers?

By Andrea Adelson

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti says he already has a short list of candidates to become the next head coach of the Scarlet Knights.

So what exactly is he looking for?

“I think there are a lot of criteria," he said Thursday. "No. 1, we want the right kind of person. Understanding and being able to have your arms around the culture of the tri-state area I think is critical to being successful at Rutgers. So much of it has been built around being able to recruit on a somewhat regional level, that I think not only having a great understanding, but having really deep and strong relationships in the tri-state area. I think those are two very critical factors in this whole thing.”

Who fits the description? Here are a few possibilities:

Temple coach Steve Addazio. In his first season as the head coach at Temple, Addazio went 9-4 and brought the Owls back to a bowl game. He has ties to the tri-state area, having grown up and coached in Connecticut. He also served as an assistant at Syracuse in the 1990s and he clearly has established ties in the past year in the Pennsylvania area. That state has been a huge recruiting area for Rutgers, particularly given what has happened to Penn State.

Florida International coach Mario Cristobal. One of the brightest up-and-coming coaches in the country, Cristobal has done for FIU what Schiano did for Rutgers. He completely resurrected a program mired in misery, taking it to its first-ever conference title and back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time, too. FIU is obviously a much younger program, but Cristobal has got the coaching and recruiting chops. Plus, he worked under Schiano at Rutgers from 2001-03, so he has a familiar with the recruiting area. Cristobal was also a candidate for the Pitt job before ultimately deciding he wanted to stay in the South Florida area. What could Rutgers say to change his mind?

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco. A defensive mastermind like Schiano (who also served as defensive coordinator this past season), Diaco is from Cedar Grove, N.J., and has some coaching experience in the Big East. He was an assistant at Cincinnati under then-coach Brian Kelly before leaving to join Kelly with the Irish.