Athletic director Pat Hobbs announced Sunday that the university and Schiano reached a contract agreement a week after talks to bring back the 53-year-old former coach fell apart.
“The next great chapter for Rutgers Football is about to begin,” Hobbs said in a statement.
The contract still must be approved by the schools’ board of governors. It is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the hiring.
Both sides walked away from negotiations and declared the possibility of a reunion dead a week ago. After that news broke, Rutgers officials faced a wave of criticism from boosters, fans and former players.
Schiano was coach at Rutgers from 2001-11. He built a program that was one of the worst in major college football into a consistent winner. The Scarlet Knights went to a bowl game in six of Schiano’s final seven seasons.
Rutgers finished off a 2-10 season, 0-9 in the Big Ten, on Saturday with a loss at Penn State. Nunzio Campanile has been the interim head coach since the firing of Chris Ash five games into his fourth season. Ash went 8-32 in three-plus seasons, including 3-26 in the Big Ten.
After Ash was fired, Schiano was immediately speculated as a candidate to replace him.
The 53-year-old Schiano, a New Jersey native, went 68-67 at Rutgers and turned the Scarlet Knights into consistent winners after years of being one of the worst major college football programs in the country. Success under Schiano helped Rutgers land an invite to the Big Ten, and it joined the lucrative Power Five conference in 2014.
After news of Schiano’s return broke, there was a positive response from alumni and former players.
“Welcome back coach @GregSchiano F.A.M.I.L.Y.,” tweeted Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed during a 2010 game while playing for Schiano.
Schiano left Rutgers in 2012 to become head coach for the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but his tenure lasted only two years. He resurfaced at Ohio State as defensive coordinator. He had reached an agreement to become Tennessee coach in 2017, but a fan mutiny on social media led the school to rescind its offer.
Schiano left Ohio State after last season when the Buckeyes struggled on his side of the ball, and briefly took a job as an assistant with the New England Patriots earlier this year. He stepped down soon after, deciding instead to take the season off.
Now he’s set to return and facing maybe an even tougher task than the first time around, trying to make Rutgers respectable in the Big Ten.