When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were conducting their very thorough search for a new head coach in January, New England Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick put in a good word for Greg Schiano, then the head of the Rutgers’ football program. On Wednesday, Belichick brought his Patriots team to the Buccaneers’ headquarters in Tampa in order to hold a mutually-beneficial joint practice with the Buccaneers…and their new head coach, Greg Schiano.
Obviously, Belichick believes the Buccaneers made a wise choice.
“You ask me about somebody, then I’ll tell you about that person,” said Belichick. “If that’s what you’re looking for, then maybe that’s the person you’ll hire. That’s your call as the employer, not mine. All I can do is just be honest.
“And I think the world of Greg. I think he’s a good coach. He’s got a good personality, he treats his players well, he’s smart, he’s tough. He did a great job with the Rutgers program without some of the opportunities that some other programs that he was going against had. But he competed really well in that conference and against those teams. I’ve always been impressed with the way his teams performed. I have no problem saying that at all.”
Belichick’s son, Stephen, attended Rutgers and played lacrosse, and that afforded the two coaches, who were already acquainted, many more opportunities to interact. Belichick has also had several former Rutgers players on his roster, including Pro Bowl cornerback Devin McCourty, and has always been impressed with how they were taught under Schiano.
“I’ve known Coach for a long time, and gotten to know him better since he was at Rutgers,” said Belichick. “Of course, we would go down and scout their players and work them out, that type of thing. We both have a defensive background, so I think we have a lot in common there. He’s coached some of our players, going back to Vince [Wilfork] at Miami, guys like that. He’s come up to our practices and spoke to our team and observed us on the field, and vice versa. We’ve had a good relationship. I have a lot of respect for him and I think this is a great opportunity for him. I’m sure he’ll do well.”