By Brenda Flanagan
“I want to be a first class program here!”
His specialty’s a 4-3 defense, his personality’s intense and new Rutgers Head Football Coach Chris Ash made no pretense about his game plans for the beleaguered Scarlet Knights.
“We need to create some positive energy around this program! It’s going to take an extreme amount of work,” he said.
Ash — who met his new team at 7 a.m. this morning — will earn $2 million a year, and has a five-year contract. Rutgers President Robert Barchi called him the right person to take over at a pivotal moment, after Barchi fired former head coach Kyle Flood following a 4-8 season that was marred by scandal.
“He has an intense and passionate commitment to excellence and integrity on the field, and he has that same level of commitment to excellence and integrity in his players both in their daily lives and in the classroom,” Barchi said.
Rutgers’ brand-new Athletic Director, Pat Hobbs, who was hired to replace Julie Hermann, recruited Ash intensely.
“This is not an easy job — there’s a lot to do to bring us to the level of competitiveness and excellence that we all want. Chris Ash is the right man to lead that effort,” he said.
The 41-year-old Ash is defensive coordinator at Ohio State, and credited with boosting the Buckeyes’ scoring defense to second in the nation. He’s got two decades of Big Ten coaching experience, including four championships. He’s never been a head coach, but with his wife and kids watching proudly, Ash claimed that he’s ready for Rutgers and will begin assembling a staff.
“I want to build a fast, physical team that plays with relentless effort, tremendous enthusiasm and plays for each other,” Ash said.
Ash will kick off his duties here immediately, but has one more chore to finish for Ohio State — coaching the Buckeyes in the Fiesta Bowl.