Bill Belichick and Urban Meyer defend Greg Schiano after allegations he ignored child abuse at Penn State

  • Greg Schiano had agreed to be the next head coach at Tennessee, but the school appeared to back out of the deal after public outcries.
  • Coaches who have worked with Schiano jumped to his defense, with Bill Belichick saying he would vouch for the Ohio State defensive coordinator "100 percent."
  • Tennessee Athletic Director John Currie is reportedly under fire from major boosters of the program for how the situation was handled.


On Sunday it was reported that Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano would be the next head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers.

The move sparked widespread outcry amongst Tennessee fans, prompting protests on campus and many posts on social media expressing outrage at the decision. The blowback from the announcement was so large that Tennessee rescinded the offer and will now begin its coaching search anew.

While the criticism seems to have cost Schiano a shot as a head coach, he's not without his defenders. Bill Belichick, whose son was coached by Schiano at Rutgers and held joint practices with Schiano when he was head coach of the Buccaneers, was asked if he would vouch for the coach.

"100 percent. Yes. 100 percent. ... Zero reservations. Zero," Belichick said, according to Sports Illustrated.

Schiano's current boss at Ohio State, Urban Meyer, also went to bat for him, saying "I'm not angry, but I'll make this comment: He's an elite father, an elite football coach and an elite friend and I stand by my coach."

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Greg Schiano through his career
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Greg Schiano through his career
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2001: Coach Greg Schiano in the stands of Rutgers Stadium where he is preparing to tackle the 2001 season. It is his first year as head coach of the Scarlett Knights. (Photo by Linda Cataffo/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 21: Head coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights on the sideline during a game against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on October 21, 2006 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Rutgers defeated Pittsburgh 20-10. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2001: Greg Schiano, Rutgers University's new football coach, puts his Scarlet Knights through their paces at a morning practice session in Piscataway, N.J. (Photo by Mike Albans/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 9: Head coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights stands on the sideline against of the University of Louisville Cardinals on November 9, 2006 at Rutgers Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers defeated Louisville 28-25. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
PISCATAWAY, NJ - NOVEMBER 09: Head Coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights looks on against the Louisville Cardinals tries to make the tackle at Rutgers Stadium on November 9, 2006 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers defeated Louisville 28 to 25. (Photo by Rob Tringali/Sportschrome/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - DECEMBER 28: Head coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights hugs two of his children after the game with the Kansas State Wildcats in the Texas Bowl on December 28, 2006 at Reliant Stadium in Houston Texas. Rutgers won 37-10. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
TORONTO - JANUARY 5: Head Coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrates his teams victory over the Ball State Cardinals during the International Bowl at the Rogers Centre January 5, 2008 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
PISCATAWAY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 27: Head coach Greg Schiano and the Rutgers Scarlet Knights celebrate their 38-0 victory over the Morgan State Bears at Rutgers Stadium on September 27, 2008 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Jarrett Baker/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 25: Head coach Greg Schiano of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights looks on from the sideline during a Big East Conference college football game against the University of Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on October 25, 2008 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Rutgers defeated the Pitt Panthers 54-34. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27: Coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers speaks to the media at an introduction press conference at the team training facility January 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 10: Head coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers smiles as his team warms up just prior to the start of the NFL Preseason Game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on August 10, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16: Head coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers talks with Josh Freeman #5 and Dan Orlovsky #6 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the fourth quarter against the New York Giants on September 16, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 18: Coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches his team during a game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 18, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tampa Bay won 27-21 in overtime. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Bill Belichick of the New England shakes hands with Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at their end of their game at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 24: Head coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks for answers on a call from head linesman Tony Veteri at Ford Field on November 24, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 01: Coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches his team play against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 1, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 27-6. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 29: Head coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watches action during a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 29, 2013 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 11: Defensive coordinator Greg Schiano of the Ohio State Buckeyes looks on during a game against the Michigan State Spartans at Ohio Stadium on November 11, 2017 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won 48-3. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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While many fans may have been against Schiano for football reasons, most pointed to Schiano's tenure as an assistant coach at Penn State, where he worked with convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. Schiano was accused of knowing that Jerry Sandusky was acting inappropriately with young boys and not informing the police or authorities at the school. The accusation was based on the testimony of former Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary who testified about a conversation that was relayed to him by a third assistant coach.

Schiano later denied the accusation, saying he "never saw any abuse, nor had reason to suspect any abuse" at Penn State.

On "The Rock" at Tennessee, some students made their feelings on the matter known.

Many fans had been hoping for Jon Gruden to take the job in his long-rumored return to coaching. So, the announcement of Schiano may have been set up for failure from the start. When other marquee schools are hiring the likes of Chip Kelly and Dan Mullen, it's tough to get excited about a guy whose greatest coaching success was leading Rutgers to a couple of good seasons and is better remembered for his failure in the NFL.

With the fallout from the decision, criticism is now being levied upon Tennessee Athletic Director John Currie for making the initial decision to bring in Schiano. According to Bruce Feldman of FS1, some top-level boosters for the Volunteers have pushed to end Currie's tenure, with one source telling him "This is such a hot mess. Just when you think they’ve gotten out of the ditch. They’ve fallen into a much bigger one."

Currie released a statement defending the decision to offer Schiano the job, saying that he was carefully interviewed and vetted, and that he had "received the highest recommendations for character, family values and commitment to academic achievement and student-athlete welfare from his current and former athletics directors, players, coaching colleagues and experienced media figures."

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