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Friday, December 7, 2007
After talking to Michigan, Schiano sticking as Rutgers coach

By Pat Forde

Two days after flirting with the Michigan job, Rutgers coach Greg Schiano has decided he will stay in New Jersey.

Greg Schiano
Greg Schiano's success at Rutgers has gotten the attention of other programs, but the coach said he's committed to the Scarlet Knights.

"I was contacted earlier this week about the Michigan coaching vacancy, but I have decided to remove my name from consideration," Schiano said in a statement released by the university Friday. "I look forward to our third straight bowl game and to bringing a national championship to Rutgers and the state of New Jersey.

"I will have no further comment."

Schiano, 41, spoke with Michigan athletic director Bill Martin on Wednesday in New York about his vacancy but decided not to pursue it any further. Schiano spurned an opportunity after last season to coach at the University of Miami.

Where Michigan turns now is unknown. Presumed leading candidate Les Miles of LSU signed a new contract on Thursday to stay in Baton Rouge.

Coach Lloyd Carr announced his retirement Nov. 19, two days after Michigan completed an 8-4 regular season.

Schiano, the Big East Coach of the Year in 2006, orchestrated one of the most impressive turnarounds in college football during his seven seasons at Rutgers.

The New Jersey native is 37-46 in seven seasons as Scarlet Knights coach. When he took over in Piscataway, the program was one of the worst in the Division I-A.

The Scarlet Knights have enjoyed three straight winning seasons and will be making their third consecutive postseason appearance at the International Bowl against Ball State on Jan. 6. They went 7-5 this season, a disappointment after starting the season ranked No. 16 in the nation.

Gov. Jon Corzine and Rutgers athletic director Robert E. Mulcahy were thrilled Schiano once again decided he had unfinished business in his home state.

"I think it's a really good thing for Rutgers," Corzine said during a Statehouse news conference in Trenton.

Mulcahy looked to the future.

"He has accomplished so much in his time here, and I know that he believes there is much more ahead of us," Mulcahy said in a statement. "Under his direction, Rutgers football will continue to move forward as one of the nation's elite programs."

Schiano's decision to talk to Michigan came just a day after he gave the impression that he was not interested in the job.

"I haven't spoken to anybody about any job," Schiano said Monday when asked about Michigan at his weekly news conference, "and that's where I'm going to leave it."

Within 48 hours, that all seemed to change, which is similar to a year ago when he turned down a chance to return to Miami; he was the Hurricanes defensive coordinator before coming to Rutgers.

After pulling out of contention for the Miami job, Schiano signed a four-year extension through 2016 that will pay him $1.7 million annually. That deal contains a buyout of $750,000 if Schiano were to leave Rutgers between the end of the 2007 regular season and the beginning of the 2008 campaign.

Instead of a new contract, Schiano's decision to stay might influence an expansion of the Rutgers football stadium. The university's Board of Governors recently put off a vote on a stadium expansion proposal after Gov. Jon Corzine expressed reservations about floating a $30 million state loan for the project.

The addition of 12,000 seats, luxury boxes and a dining club to the stadium is expected to cost $120 million.

Schiano's decision leaves Michigan 0-for-2 in its search to replace Carr, who retired on Nov. 19 after 13 seasons.

The 62-year-Carr posted a 121-40 record, including an 8-4 mark this season. His .752 winning percentage is seventh among active coaches behind Florida State's Bobby Bowden and ahead of South Carolina's Steve Spurrier.

Michigan's list of potential candidates still includes Wake Forest's Jim Grobe, California's Jeff Tedford, Missouri's Gary Pinkel, North Carolina State's Tom O'Brien, Ball State's Brady Hoke, Michigan offensive coordinator Mike DeBord and Wolverines defensive coordinator Ron English.

Pat Forde is a senior writer for The Associated Press contributed to this report.