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January 31, 2012

Kyle Flood

Tim Pernetti

TIM PERNETTI:  My role with this thing, to get with our staff, get with the players, getting on the staff to recruit was in order to try to help.  I followed Coach Flood's lead as the interim head coach to see what I could do to help in recruiting.  But what it did for me was understanding the program from all those angles enabled me to be a true representative of Rutgers football and prospects coming to Rutgers football in every possible way.  I felt like I represented all those groups in the search.
The criteria was simple.  We built something really special here.  Continuity was a big piece of the criteria.  Somebody who believed in the core values of this program was a big piece of the criteria.  Somebody who believed in the core values of this program was a big piece of the criteria.  Relationships in the state of Rutgers, the Tri‑state area, in recruiting, was a critical part of the criteria.  All those things together made the search a very targeted deal.  We found all those things in Kyle Flood.
And the most important thing we found in Kyle Flood was my most important criteria in the search, which is character.  What this program has been built on, the class that it's been, the way we are perceived, what Rutgers stands for, it's pristine, it's precise.  It's as good as there is in college football.  We will never sacrifice or compromise the core values of this program for any reason whatsoever.  We will not win at all costs here.  It's about character.  It's about developing young people.  And that was the most important thing we looked for.
So today Kyle Flood is the 29th head football coach in Rutgers University history.  I told him to get ready for this part because at a state school your whole life's in the wide open.  Kyle's got a five‑year deal with us.  We'll be paying him his first year at $750,000.  His salary will graduate at $100,000 per year, reaching $1.15 million in his fifth year.
He is going to be incentivized to succeed in the classroom, succeed on the field with a series of athletic and academic bonuses.
My job in this whole thing, whether it's football field hockey, baseball, basketball, or lacrosse, is to surround student‑athletes with good people of high character.  In doing that, we found something today that just completes the job.  So it's my pleasure to introduce our new head football coach, Kyle Flood.
COACH FLOOD:  Thank you for coming today.  When I go on the road recruiting and talk to other coaches I know, people I've grown up with, they always say what's the difference between being the assistant head coach and being the head coach?  My old line used to be the head coach drives a red Escalade, and the assistant head coach doesn't.
The other difference would be one, two, three, four, five‑‑ about eight video cameras up here when you're speaking to a group of people.
Before I go any further, I would like to thank President McCormick, the board of Governors, and Tim Pernetti for the honor of being head football coach here at Rutgers University.
It's an honor to be the head football coach, but it's even more of an honor to be hired by somebody who's one of our own.  Tim Pernetti is a product of the Rutgers football program.  I think everybody knows‑‑ and he makes it very clear how cherished this program is to him, how important it is to him, and to be the person that he entrusts with it is just a tremendous honor for me.  I want to thank you personally, Tim, for that.
I'd also like to thank my parents, Jerry and Louise, who are here today.  My wife, Amy, who I believe is right there.  Thank you.  The greatest support system that I think any husband could have, the love of my life.  My children, Kyle, Isabella, James.  My son Joseph, who's about to be born here in about four weeks.  Three weeks, my daughter Isabella says.  Sorry, Isa.  As big a fans as Rutgers has, that's for sure.
I also need to thank Greg Schiano and his wife, Christie.  Without Greg's vision and drive 11 years ago, the Rutgers football program would not be what it is today.  He's a mentor to me.  He's a friend to me, and somebody that I consider a lifelong friend.  Thank you, Greg.
This has really been humbling going through this process.  So many people have reached out beforehand.  So many people have reached out since.  I can give you some of the names.  I wrote them down because I didn't want to forget them.  Former football players here, Dino Mangiero, Marco Battaglia, who I went to high school with and came here today and didn't tell me he was coming, I didn't ask him to come, but he's here because of what Rutgers football means to him.
Bill and Chris Pickel.  I don't know how many of you are historians of the program, but there were four Pickel brothers that played here.  I think all four were captains.  Bill was the oldest, Chris was the youngest.  All four of them are from my high school.  Bill and Chris both reached out to me.  I haven't been able to get back to them yet, but if you're watching, I appreciate it.  Bill Pickel left me a nice message saying we never met, but actually we did meet.  He spoke at my banquet my junior year of high school.  I have his autograph back home.  I wouldn't expect him to remember, but I remember it because it affected my life.
More current players like Ray Rice, Darnell Stapleton, Brian Leonard, Anthony Davis, Jeremy Zuttah, and many others.  They reached out, saying to me, you know, Coach Flood, you're the right guy.  You're the guy we need at Rutgers, and I appreciated that.  I appreciated that.
Lastly, before I answer questions, what I would say to you and what I would say to everybody in the State of Rutgers, players, parents, and the like, is the core values of Rutgers football don't come and go with any one person.  This program is built on a philosophy of family.  Forget about me, I love you, which is about sacrifice.  That's a part of Rutgers football.  That's not a part of any past coach, that's not a part of Kyle Flood, and that's not a part of any future coach.  That's something our players carry with them everywhere they go.  It's how they live their lives.  It's really what we're about here at Rutgers.
My message to the team was very simple.  We're going to do things here in the Rutgers football program.  We're going to raise you from young men to grown men, and we're going to win championships while we do it.  It's an honor to be the head coach at Rutgers.  I'm looking forward to doing the job.  I'm as excited as I've ever been, and I can't wait for tomorrow.  Thank you.

Q.  If you could just address the need to move quickly because of signing day and everything and also the reaction you got from the high school coaches in New Jersey about Kyle.
TIM PERNETTI:  Five days ago, when we started this, I think I said to you guys that I thought it was important‑‑ I wasn't going to lock into any deadline, but I thought it was important to have someone in place before signing day.  But I wasn't going to lock into that.  I was going to take the time I needed, the time necessary to find the right person.  Fortunately, those two things matched up.
The response from the high school coaches in New Jersey, the community and the State of Rutgers, as Kyle said, has been just outstanding.  That was a key piece of my evaluation for him, outside of meeting him for several hours, was his relationships.  And the relationships are,  not only are they there, they're deep and they've gone back a long time.

Q.  Kyle, you talked about having 19 years to prepare for this, having never been a head coach.  Who would you say your influences are throughout your coaching career?  Who's had the greatest impact, and what will be your philosophy going forward?
COACH FLOOD:  Well, certainly, the first head coach that I worked for was Vince O'Connor.  He was the head high school coach at St. Francis Prep High School in Fresh Meadows, queens.  He's been there as the high school coach, the head football coach for over 55 years.  And just a tremendous person in the way he cared for his players.  Whether you were Kyle Flood, who had gone on to play Division III football or Marco Battaglia going on to play in the NFL, when you spoke to Mr. O'Connor, you were the most important person in the world.  It was a valuable lesson to learn as a young football coach.
And most recently, working for Greg, tremendous motivator, great organizer, and having the pleasure of sitting next to him for seven years had a big effect on me.

Q.  Kyle, a major influence during the search was the ability to try to keep as many people on staff as possible.  How hard are you working on that, and what are your goals?
COACH FLOOD:  From the moment Tim made me the interim head coach, I said to the team, and I said to the coaching staff that the vision of Rutgers football is going forward.  We have quality people here.  People are aware of that.  I've been able to advance in my career because people have seen something in me, and it would not surprise me if somebody on the outside saw something in our staff.
But I think the difference now is Rutgers is not a stop along the way place anymore.  Rutgers is a destination, and I think the people in this program know that.

Q.  Tim, you've conducted several coaches searches now.  How is this one different given the compressed time frame and also the high profile nature of the position?
TIM PERNETTI:  Jerry, the timing.  People say, well, the timing's got to be different.  That's got to be the biggest thing.  It's not.  I went through this with basketball.  I put myself‑‑ and it was really due to my own doing, put myself behind on timing and was able to execute that.  Early returns, at least, were good on that one.
Quite frankly, this one was a lot different because I think what we were doing with men's basketball was we were trying to set the vision for that program in the midst of the search.  We know the vision for this program.  We knew it.  We knew what it stood for.  We wanted to try to find somebody that believed in all the same things.  That probably would be the biggest difference.

Q.  Kyle, you've been here for all of the bowl games that this team has gone to under Greg Schiano.  What can you and will you do to bring this program to that next level now?
COACH FLOOD:  I think consistency is the most important thing in any program.  Consistency of relationships in recruiting has allowed us to advance our recruiting every year.  As we go forward, consistency in coaching is going to allow our players to be trained in the same manner year after year.
The vision of Rutgers football‑‑ offense, defense, special teams ‑‑ goes forward as it is today.  That doesn't mean it stays the same.  It gets better.  But what the players are doing and the vision of it will be the same.

Q.  Kyle, could you give a‑‑ congratulations, first of all.
COACH FLOOD:  Thank you.

Q.  Could you give us an update on Brody and Hamilton.  Have you heard anything from them since you've been hired?
COACH FLOOD:  By NCAA rule, I can't comment on that until tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to commenting on it.

Q.  Kyle, what makes you think now you could succeed where Greg couldn't in 11 years, since you were here most of the time?  Obviously, the goal is to win a Big East title and championships.  Greg came close, didn't get it.  Why you as opposed to Greg, who put 11 years in?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't think it's Kyle Flood as opposed to Greg Schiano.  I think the time is right for Rutgers to win championships.

Q.  Kyle, can you just talk about your relationships with a lot of the, I guess you say, prominent coaches in New Jersey, the high school coaches, and how you got to know them and everything.
COACH FLOOD:  I don't really put the high school coaches in those kinds of classifications.  Every high school coach in the State of Rutgers is important to us.  What I've been fortunate enough to do through my career at different places is recruit the same geographic area for a little over 15 years now.  I think, when you do that, you find that the coaches that stay, even if they're not at the same high school, you still have a relationship with.
And even at times, maybe former players that you've coached, guys like Sammy McDonald, are now out there coaching in high schools locally, and that certainly helps.

Q.  Kyle, what was your first response or actions once Tim hired you.
COACH FLOOD:  Thank you.  The first thing I did, if you're asking what that was, was to call my wife.

Q.  Obviously, being on Greg's staff, you and he are somewhat like minded in philosophy.  But can you talk a little bit about your own philosophy?  Will anything differ as far as offense, defense goes?  You've been thinking a lot about recruiting and getting all those kids here, but any thoughts on that?
COACH FLOOD:  I think the biggest difference for the players is going to be the personality.  I'm not here to try to be Greg Schiano, nor is my personality the same as Greg Schiano's.  So going forward, they'll see the differences.
Like I said to the team the first day, the vision is the same, and the vision is constant and consistent.  That's not going to change.  Will there be certain personality things that change?  Absolutely.  What they are, I'll experience them as I go through this process.  But it's not about trying to change something on purpose that's not broken.

Q.  Tim, what's it been like for you the last few days becoming a college football recruiter, and how helpful have staff members been in successfully keeping the recruiting class together?
TIM PERNETTI:  It's been great.  And I think it couldn't have happened at a better time.  I think initially, when we talked about it last Thursday and I asked him to step in as interim head coach, he said I think we need to put you on the staff and have you sit down with recruits and their families and explain what's going on.  Initially, I didn't think much about it, but it was the best thing I could have done because I was hearing on the other side what's important to this great class we put together.
I tell you, I enjoyed it.  I really did enjoy it.  I'm a product of this program.  I want to know what's coming in and going out and how we're developing people.  But in the end, I just followed Kyle's lead.

Q.  Kyle, what was yesterday like for you?  There were some reports that this job might be going to another person.  I could imagine this, you've had some highs and lows yesterday.  Can you maybe take me through a little bit of what your day was like.
COACH FLOOD:  Most of my day yesterday was spent recruiting.  I wasn't following anything to see what was going on.  Our job right now as football coaches getting close to that signing date is about recruiting and continuing to build our relationships.

Q.  Kyle, you talked about your personality maybe being a little different.  From a team on the field perspective, what do you think the personality of Kyle Flood, how will that be embodied in your team?  What kind of team are you looking to put out there?
COACH FLOOD:  Every team embodies a little bit of the personality of their head coach.  The only thing is it's not about me speaking of any one particular character trait.  We'll play on the field on game day the way we practice.  It will be much more about Khaseem Greene, D.C. Jefferson, Betim Bujari.  It's going to be much more about them.

Q.  Kyle, could you just talk a little bit‑‑ most first time coaches step into a job similar of what Greg stepped into, a rebuilding job.  Can you just talk, is that how you assumed your first job would be, and how are you prepared to handle the pressures that come off a nine‑win season?
COACH FLOOD:  I don't make any assumptions in this business, that's for sure.  I think, if you just watch TV every day, you know not to do that.  When you're given the opportunity to do a job and it's a job you're really excited about, you take that opportunity without hesitation.  The Rutgers football program is going to go on and do some great things here.  I'm excited to be in charge of it.

Q.  Kyle, could you just talk about the type of offense you want to run at Rutgers.
COACH FLOOD:  I could actually speak to all three phases.  The vision of the Rutgers football program‑‑ the offense, the defense, and the special teams‑‑ you saw that this year.  That is not going to change.
TIM PERNETTI:  Thank you everyone for coming today.

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