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The Chris Ash Era For Rutgers Football Begins


On Saturday, news broke out that new Rutgers Athletic Director Patrick Hobbs chose the school’s new head football coach and heir-apparent to Kyle Flood who was fired last Sunday.

The University welcomed Chris Ash who was approved by the Board of Governors Monday afternoon and was introduced at a press conference held shortly after in the Hale Center on Busch Campus.

Ash, 41, comes over as a prominent assistant with aspirations of always wanting to be a head coach. A native of Ottumwa, Iowa, Ash has served as Ohio State’s co-defensive coordinator the past two seasons under Urban Meyer where they implement an aggressive 4-3 base scheme with pressing cornerbacks. Last season when Ohio State won the National Championship, the Buckeye’s ranked 26th in scoring defense. This year, the team is even better ranked 2nd in the nation with an 11-1 record and set to face Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl in which Ash will still coach.

Ash said he wants a multiple offense that might include some power-spread that is a mixture of Bret Bielema’s power rushing attack at Wisconsin and Urban Meyer’s spread at Ohio State/Florida.

But before he got into that, Ash’s first words on the record lightened up the atmosphere and hit it off.

“I’m going to try to lighten this room up a little bit,” said Ash, who is the 30th head coach in school history. “There’s a lot of serious looks in here and we have to get some smiles going here at Rutgers right now.”

President Robert Barchi, Head Coach Chris Ash & Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs (Ben Solomon Photo) /

President Robert Barchi, Head Coach Chris Ash & Director of Athletics Pat Hobbs (Ben Solomon Photo) /

To summarize the presser, here are a few notable quotes from Ash regarding recruiting, his schemes, what his goals are, facilities, and more.

1. On Keeping NJ Talent Home:

“I want to build a first-class program here, a program that the university, the State of New Jersey, high school coaches and high school players can be proud to say that this program is theirs and they want to come here and be a part of it. We don’t need New Jersey kids and players going to other programs. We need to keep them here at home at Rutgers and be the best that we can be here.”

2. On Keys To Recruiting In NJ:

“People ask me about going into homes and living rooms here in New Jersey because I’m not from here. I’ve been able to do that all across the country, East Coast, West Coast, down in the south, it doesn’t matter. I think it’s about being yourself, being honest, being straightforward, building a connection and really selling what you’re trying to do, what your vision of the program is and what you want to try to accomplish. But it’s about the people more so than anything, and the way that we take care of our players

3. On Realistic Goals and Winning Championships coming from Ohio State:

“You know, we’re not going to make a lot of goals that talk about results with winning games and championships. We’re going to worry about making goals that make us better tomorrow than we were today. That’s all it’s going to be about. The wins will come. Hopefully championships will come. But that’s not my focus. That’s not going to be the program’s goal, at least early on. It’s about getting better every single day.”

4. On What He Would Like Offensively:

“As a defensive coach, I faced a lot of different types of offenses, and I know what I want to see offensively. I know what hurts defenses. I know what I don’t want to see each week.

“I can tell you this about the offense: We’ll have an offense that can score points. It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be fun to watch and it’s going to be one that players are going to want to be a part of and fans are going to want to watch and show up every Saturday on the field. We’re going to be multiple. We’re going to have several different ways to attack a defense and that’s about where I’ll leave it there.”

5. On His Opinion Of The Football Facilities:

“I think it’s an outstanding facility. Last night was my first opportunity to go through the facility, and I was blown away to be honest with you. I had never been here before. Didn’t know what to expect. Very nice facility. User-friendly.

“There are some minor things that in time that I might want to tweak and adjust but right now I’m blown away. I look at this team room that we have that we are sitting in. This is one of the nicest team rooms I’ve been in in any job that I’ve been. I look at the meeting rooms, the weight room, fantastic facility. Great foundation here to do something great with.”

6. On How He Wants His Product To Look Like:

“What I’m looking for in this football team, okay, I want to build a fast, physical team that plays with relentless effort, tremendous enthusiasm, and plays for each other. I want our opponents to turn on the film and say, you know what, this is a real one. We’d better strap it on because these guys are going to come and they are going to play hard. They are going to play together, and they are going to play for four quarters. And that’s the type of program that I want to try to build here at Rutgers.”

7. On Changing The Negative Image Right Now Of Rutgers After The Off-Field Issues:

“It takes time. And we want to create a culture that tries to educate the players on how to make the right decisions, but it will take time. It will start by clearly defining what our culture is going to be. It will take time to clearly educate, communicate and motivate those players to make the right decisions and make those decisions for the right reasons because of the other team members that are in this room with them.

“We want guys to be able to make the right decisions because they know if they make the wrong one, it’s going to let down one of their brothers, one of their teammates. And that doesn’t happen overnight. Doesn’t happen because I walked in the door. But it starts with having clearly defined culture, clearly defined expectations, constant communication, constant education and constant motivation about doing the right thing on and off the field.”

8. On Being a First-Time Head Coach:

“At the end of the day, the buck stops with me. I have to make decisions that typically as a coordinator or a position coach, you don’t have to make. My name will be all over the newspapers for the good times and for the bad. But other than that, it’s football. It’s coaching.

“There’s some other duties and responsibilities that a head coach has to do with going out and meeting with supporters and boosters and former players and things like that. I have been planning the way I would attack a job for a long time. I have very strong thoughts and beliefs on how I want to operate the program and how we will attack each day.

“I feel like I’m more than ready and prepared to do this job.”

9. On How He Likes The State of New Jersey And His Ties:

“To say that I am honored and excited to be the new head coach here at Rutgers would be an understatement. When I started my coaching journey back in 1995, this was a dream that I set out to try to achieve to some day have an opportunity to lead my own program.

“Ironically, when that journey started, one of the states that I started in was here in New Jersey. It was a short stay when I worked at Princeton University but I became very fond of the state, this area, and what it has to offer. I’ve been back many times both to visit and to recruit, and I am extremely excited and thrilled to be the new head football coach of this State’s university here at Rutgers.”

10. And His 14-year old Son Is A Great Life Manager:

“My son, Tanner, has been great. He had two questions about Rutgers before I took this job. First thing he said, ‘Dad, can we win?’

“I said, ‘Yeah, we can win.’

“And the only other thing he cared about, ‘Can we get ranked sometime, Dad?’

” I said, ‘Yeah, we can get ranked.’

” And he said, ‘Take the job.’ So we did.”


Watch the short video at the top as Ash is introduced as the 30th head football coach in school history, and watch the full press conference below.

Follow me @ChrisWasky


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