Bill Belichick Praised Greg Schiano Before Tennessee Nixed Head Coach

FOXBORO, Mass. — Greg Schiano reportedly was set to become Tennessee’s next head football coach. Now he’s reportedly not, ESPN reported.

When Schiano still was set to be hired by the University of Tennessee, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick heaped praise on Schiano, despite not hearing the news of his hiring. Belichick got to know Schiano well when he was Rutgers’ head coach. Schiano then went on to become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach and defensive coordinator of Ohio State.

Here’s what Belichick had to say.

“Yeah, I think Greg’s a tremendous coach,” Belichick said. “I’ve learned an awful lot from him and had an opportunity to spend a lot of time with him when he was at Rutgers and Stephen (Belichick) was at Rutgers and I’d go down there. The lacrosse and the football programs are in the same building. Then at Tampa and the couple of years after Tampa was really even better for, I would say, my relationship with him because he had those last two years in the NFL and I’ve learned an awful lot from him. He’s given me a lot of – we talk about things that they did in their program, that he did in Tampa, that really had a lot of relevance to what we do. So did Rutgers, but it’s a little bit different in the NFL. He’s done a great job at Ohio State.

“He’s one of the very best coaches I think in our profession. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Greg and the way he runs his program and the job that he does. I would say the most impressive thing for me is the way that our players, which we’ve had a lot of Rutgers players come through here, the loyalty and the, I would say love of the program, the college program that they were in at Rutgers when he was there, how they maintained that for years and years after they had left. Not taking anything away from any other school, but I would just say that it’s extremely strong. I think the relationship that he has with his kids, with his players and how well prepared his players are to come into this league is exceptional. I didn’t know that, but it’s good for him. He’s a great coach. I’m sure he’ll be a great head coach. Again, he’s done an awful lot. He’s helped me in a lot of different ways and I have a lot of respect for him.”

Tennessee fans and politicians protested the school’s decision to hire Schiano because of his alleged involvement in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.

Former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary testified in a 2015 deposition that Tom Bradley, another Nittany Lions coach, “had told him that Schiano had talked of seeing Sandusky abusing a boy in the early 1990s,” according to The Washington Post and USA Today.

Bradley and Schiano both have denied McQueary’s claim.

Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images

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