Chris Ash, a former Ohio State defensive coordinator under Urban Meyer, has been fired from Rutgers after the team's 1-3 start. The news was first reported by NJ.com's Keith Sargeant and confirmed by Rutgers soon after on Sunday afternoon.
BREAKING: Chris Ash was fired Sunday as Rutgers head coach in a shakeup that also includes the dismissal of offensive coordinator John McNulty. Nunzio Campanile will take over as interim head coach for the rest of the season. The report: https://t.co/fvF2r1bVBk— Keith Sargeant (@KSargeantNJ) September 29, 2019
“We appreciate Chris's dedicated efforts on behalf of our football program, our department and our University,” Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said in a statement. “This change is especially difficult because of the steadfast commitment that Chris and his family have made to our student-athletes. Progress has been achieved in many areas, but, unfortunately, that progress has not been realized on the field of play. As such, it is in the best interest of the program to make a change.”
In three full seasons and the first four games of this season, Ash went 8-32 as Rutgers' head coach. The Scarlet Knights have not won a Big Ten game since 2017, and suffered a 52-0 loss to Michigan on Saturday.
Ash, who was the co-defensive coordinator for the Buckeyes' 2014 national championship run, became Rutgers' head coach in 2016.
Nunzio Campanile, who was Rutgers' tight ends coach, has been named as the interim head coach. The Scarlet Knights are conducting a search for Ash's replacement for next season, however, and according to a report by Football Scoop's Zach Barnett, they could potentially turn to another former Ohio State defensive coordinator: Greg Schiano, who was previously the head coach at Rutgers from 2001-11.
Sources told FootballScoop in recent days that Schiano left his post back in New England in order to make himself available to return to Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights’ head coach. Sources said Rutgers made it clear to Schiano at the time he will be the choice to replace Chris Ash once the position became available.
Sources said that Schiano informed Bill Belichick of his intention to return to Piscataway, and that Belichick immediately recognized a late November/early December departure would be incompatible with the Patriots’ schedule. The two came to a mutual understanding that the right thing to do for both sides was for Schiano to resign at that time.
Football Scoop's report should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt, though, considering its report in February 2018 that Schiano would leave Ohio State at that time to become the New England Patriots' defensive coordinator – a report that proved to be inaccurate at that time, though he briefly accepted a job with the Patriots this past offseason after being fired as Ohio State's defensive coordinator by new head coach Ryan Day.