The Scarlet Knights get a Prince.
Rutgers announced it hired new offensive and defensive coordinators Ron Prince and Dave Cohen on Tuesday. Cohen was already on head coach Kyle Flood’s staff as linebackers coach. He replaces Robb Smith, who joined former RU head coach Greg Schiano on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ staff.
The Prince hiring is the big story here, sure to set the blogosphere ablaze in the coming days — not to mention, anytime the Scarlet Knight offense does anything of note next season, positive or negative.
If you are unfamiliar with the Prince legacy, he spent an unremarkable three seasons as head coach at Kansas State after serving as offensive coordinator at Virginia. Prince’s tenure in Manhattan is bookended by K-State legend Bill Snyder’s two runs of football prosperity, the only such eras in the annals of Wildcat history.
Prince’s 17-20 mark over the 2006 through 2008 seasons would not be noteworthy were it not for the bizarre circumstances surrounding his release.
Former athletic director Bob Krause gave Prince a contract extension prior to the 2008 campaign, which reportedly included a secret buyout of over $3 million, paid in three, deferred lump sums to In Pursuit of Perfection, LLC.
The specifics behind this deal were fiercely contested, while Google and LexisNexis searches for In Pursuit of Perfection, LLC only bring up reports of the lawsuit. Consider this chapter college football’s answer to the Mitt Romney tax returns attacked during last year’s presidential campaign. But hey, at least In Pursuit of Perfection, LLC gave us such bounty as this.
Anyway, Prince’s 2008 recruiting class of 19 JUCO transfers — yes, 19 — was unable to get K-State over the hump, as the Wildcats limped to a second straight 5-7 finish. Prince was subsequently shown the door, and a new athletic regime took over the K-State department with a legal fight over Prince’s secret buyout on its hands.
“Ron P. for…” has emerged as the enduring meme recognizing his altogether strange run as a college head coach, ironically championing him for various openings. RU is the first to bite with a major position.
Prince has been out of the college game since 2009, when he briefly returned to Virginia as special teams coach, and has spent the past three seasons in the NFL. He comes to Rutgers from the Jacksonville Jaguars organization, where he was assistant offensive line coach. The Jaguars ranked No. 30 in the NFL in sacks allowed in 2012.
Rutgers has struggled with its offensive consistency in recent years. Last season, the Scarlet Knights ranked No. 96 in points scored per game with 21.5, and in 2010 were dead last nationally in sacks allowed.