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Rutgers assistant Kyle Flood has been hired as the team's coach, getting his first chance to run a major college program.The 41-year-old Flood, who was promoted to interim coach after Greg Schiano departed last week to become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' head coach, interviewed for the job over the weekend. Flood, was emotional on the podium at his formal introduction on Tuesday. He even started to break up when he thanked his wife and children. "This has really been humbling, going through this process," Flood said. "The core values of Rutgers football don't come and go with any one person. That's how our players live their lives, and that's what we're about here at Rutgers. "It's an honor to be the coach here." He received a five-year contract with a base annual salary of $750,000 that will increase by $100,000 with each new year.
The hiring of Flood came after Florida International coach Mario Cristobal decided not to join Rutgers after receiving a contract offer on Monday.
Cristobal, a former Rutgers assistant who has been with FIU for five seasons, appeared to be Rutgers' first choice, but he decided to stay in Miami. An FIU player said that at a team meeting on Monday, Cristobal told players, "I love FIU and this is where I want to be.""This will be the best recruiting class we have ever had," Cristobal said in an email to The Associated Press on Monday night. "We have built a great program," Cristobal said. "It is a great time to be a Panther."
With Cristobal out of the picture, Pernetti quickly turned to Flood, who is expected to provide stability after Schiano's exit left the school scrambling for a replacement less than a week before national signing day, which is Wednesday."This search was quick. Very targeted, very precise. We knew what we were looking for," Pernetti said. "This is not the same job as it was 10 years ago. We've built something really special here."
Schiano surprised Rutgers when he took the Tampa Bay job. He had previously turned down Miami and Michigan to stay at the school, where he served as coach for 11 years.
During Schiano's time at Rutgers, the Scarlet Knights have gone from a major college football laughingstock to consistent winners in the Big East. Flood's first season with Rutgers was the program's first winning season since 1992. The Scarlet Knights have had only one losing season since 2005, going 5-1 in bowl games during the past seven years.
Rutgers finished 9-4 last season and 4-3 in the Big East. The Scarlet Knights will return most of the key players from that team.
Before Schiano's departure, Rutgers was working on a highly rated recruiting class. Flood and the rest of the staff, along with Pernetti, worked frantically through the weekend to hold on to the players who had verbally committed to Rutgers.
With Flood taking over, the chances are good Rutgers can hold on to many of its top recruits.
Flood worked for three seasons at Delaware as offensive line coach and was part of a team that won an FCS national championship in 2003 before coming to Rutgers.
He went to high school in New York, played football at Iona College in New Rochelle, just north of the city, and began his college coaching career at Long Island University-C.W. Post in 1995.Joe Schad is a college football reporter for ESPN. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.