PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- After a hasty search, Rutgers found a replacement for Greg Schiano in one of his proteges.
Longtime assistant Kyle Flood is getting his first shot at running a college football program, replacing his former boss with the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers promoted Flood to head coach on Tuesday, five days after Schiano left to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- and one day before high school players can officially sign with a school.
So any celebrations with his wife, Amy, and two young children will have to wait for Flood.
"What makes you think I'm going home tonight," he said after a news conference at Rutgers' football facility.
The 41-year-old had been a member of Schiano's staff since 2005, coaching offensive linemen and working his way up to assistant head coach. He became interim coach when Schiano left.
"This search was quick. Very targeted, very precise. We knew what we were looking for," Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said. "This is not the same job as it was 10 years ago. We've built something really special here."
Flood received a five-year contract with a base annual salary of $750,000 that will increase by $100,000 with each new year.
Rutgers turned to Flood on Monday soon after Florida International coach Mario Cristobal passed on a chance to replace Schiano, who went 68-67 in 11 seasons with the Scarlet Knights, turning around a moribund program.
The athletic director wouldn't acknowledge the FIU coach was a candidate, but he did say that in the end he felt as if he had two good candidates.
"No matter who you hire, there is always going to be some risk," Pernetti said.
Cristobal released a statement through FIU on Tuesday that did not mention Rutgers.
"We have a great thing going here and I am excited about the future of the program," he said.
Pernetti made himself an assistant coach over the weekend so he could take part in the recruiting process, and help the staff hold together a class that has been receiving high marks from analysts. Flood's strong relationships with high school coaches in New Jersey were a plus, but Pernetti insisted he did not make this hire based on saving the class.
"This program is bigger than one recruiting class," he said.
Though that class got a big boost Tuesday night when Darius Hamilton, a defensive end from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., and one of the top-rated players in the country, announced he will attend Rutgers.
It was more good news on an emotional day for Flood. He fought back tears as he thanked his pregnant wife, kids and parents.
"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."
Flood grew up in New York and played at Iona College in New Rochelle, just north of the city. He said he was in his office calling recruits on Monday and didn't have any time to follow the news that Rutgers was pursuing Cristobal.
He said he doesn't even remember what time he got the call from Pernetti, who asked the coach to come to his office.
"That's usually a good sign," Flood said.
He accepted the job as soon as it was offered, called Amy to tell her the good news, and before he could make another call, he received a call from a recruit, who had already heard that he'd been hired.
"I always felt I was a candidate for the job," Flood said.
He interviewed with Pernetti on Saturday.
"It was about 20 minutes into that meeting, it was pretty clear to me we had somebody that was equipped and that was tied to all the criteria to do the job," Pernetti said.
Pernetti said if he didn't think Flood was the right person, he was prepared to go into signing day without a permanent head coach.
He also said money was not an issue, though hiring a first-time head coach did make Flood more affordable for an athletic department that has received tens of millions in subsidies from the university as the football program has grown.
"It didn't factor in at all," Pernetti said.
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. His college coaching career began at Long Island University-C.W. Post in 1995 and Schiano gave him his first job at the highest level of Division I football.
He said his high school coach, Vincent O'Connor, who has been the head coach at St. Francis Prep in Queens, N.Y. for 59 years, was his greatest influence in coaching, along with Schiano.
Flood called Schiano a mentor and a friend, and said that while the "vision" for the program will not change, "I'm not here to be Greg Schiano."
He inherits the core of a team that went 9-4 last season -- the Scarlet Knights' sixth winning season in the last seven years -- and is expected to contend for a Big East title in 2012.
"I'm not worried about blazing my own path. I'm worried about advancing the program forward," he said. "The things that are good, we want to keep them good. And as we evaluate things, if we think there's a chance to get better, we want to get better."