Numerous sources and reports have confirmed a rumor that started early Sunday morning: Greg Schiano will be the next head coach at Tennessee. The Volenteers’ interest in Schiano was originally reported by Dan Wolken of USA Today.
After weeks of #GRUMORS, this news seemingly came out of nowhere. Schiano was hardly talked about in connection to the vacancy in Knoxville until Sunday, but shortly after the original report, things apparently intensified to the point that Wolken reported that contract details were being finalized.
Tennessee is finalizing the deal with Schiano. Hopes to name him later today, per person with direct knowledge.— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) November 26, 2017
Schiano has spent the past two seasons in Columbus, coaching Ohio State’s defensive backs and coordinating the defense, alongside Luke Fickell in 2016, and Bill Davis in 2017. The 51-year-old defensive expert came to Columbus after three years away from the sport, following a disappointing tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Schiano has only had one run as a head coach in college football before now, as he held the position at Rutgers for ten years, turning the Scarlet Knights into a consistent top-half performer in the Big East. Schiano went 68-67 during his time in Piscataway.
Under his tutelage, Ohio State’s defense has been among the nation’s elite each of the last two season’s, finishing fifth in defensive S&P+ in 2016, and 12th in 2017. He’s also helped produce three first-round draft picks in the defensive backfield (Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, Gareon Conley), and will almost certainly have at least one more this season with Denzel Ward.
If this deal does in fact become official, it is unclear if Schiano will coach Ohio State’s defense in the Big Ten Championship or in an eventual bowl game or playoff run. LandGrant Holy Land will have more coverage on Schiano and on Ohio State’s potential defensive coordinator search as it becomes available.