Schiano 'a great leader'

11:40 PM, Jan 26, 2012   |    comments
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Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano reacts after winning the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Lakewood Ranch, Fla. -- Greg Schiano took the Rutgers job in 2000 when no one thought the Scarlet Knights would ever be respetable.

Then Schiano stayed at college football's inaugural program despite offers from more prominent Division I program.  So when he was announced as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' ninth head coach, Schiano's former players were not upset.

"He loved helping kids in college grow as men," offensive lineman Desmond Wynn said. "Of course, I was a little shocked, but... I'm happy for him that he's the coach of the Buccaneers now."

Wynn and defensive end Justin Francis are training at Athletic Edge in Lakewood Ranch to prepare for their pro workouts.  The news of Schiano's departure surprised them only because he was leaving for the NFL.

Neither Francis nor Wynn have doubts that Schiano will succeed in Tampa Bay since he does have NFL experience with three years as the Chicago Bears' defensive backs coach.

Both players are sad to see Schiano leave their alma mater, but they point out that he will succeed with the Buccaneers after turning around a moribund Rutgers program.

"Coach brought Rutgers from nothing to a team that everyone knows," Wynn said.

"He's a great guy, great coach, a definite leader," Francis said.

Travis Bell, 10 News

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