COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A big opportunity for an Ohio State assistant coach is now gone after protests at the University of Tennessee.
This weekend news broke that OSU defensive coordinator Greg Schiano would become the new head coach at UT, but the deal quickly vanished after backlash from fans and students citing allegations from his past at Penn State.
OSU Head Coach Urban Meyer is standing up for Schiano.
“I’ve said it many, many times. He’s an elite person, elite father, elite husband, elite friend and elite football coach,” said Meyer. “I stand by my coach.”
Schiano was at Penn State in the early 90’s as an assistant under then-defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, who is currently serving time in prison for his conviction on 45 counts of sexual abuse.
Court documents released in 2016 claim that a different assistant coach heard that Schiano had once seen Sandusky “doing something to a boy in the shower.” Schiano has denied these claims, as has the other coach named in the deposition.
During a Big Ten teleconference on Monday OSU senior captain and linebacker Chris Worley made it clear he’s also standing by his coach.
“I’m very fortunate that he’s still here, but at the same time it’s very unfortunate that it had to happen that way,” said Worley. “At the end of the day I’m happy that the Buckeyes get to keep him for now.”
University of Tennessee vice chancellor and athletic director John Currie released a statement defending the process of his coaching search and also vouching for the character of Schiano:
“As we began our search for our next head football coach earlier this month, I promised that I would pour all my energy and effort into this process.
I have followed Coach Schiano’s accomplishments throughout his career and have been fortunate to get to know him and his family over the last several years. As reported by the media, he was a leading candidate for our position. Among the most respected professional and college football coaches, he is widely regarded as an outstanding leader who develops tough, competitive teams and cares deeply about his student-athletes.
We carefully interviewed and vetted him, as we do candidates for all positions. He 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.
Coach Schiano worked at Penn State from 1990-1995. Consequently, we, of course, carefully reviewed the 2012 investigation report by Louis Freeh. Coach Schiano is not mentioned in the Freeh report and was not one of the more than 400 people interviewed in the investigation. We also confirmed that Coach Schiano was never deposed and never asked to testify in any criminal or civil matter. And, we conferred with our colleagues at The Ohio State University, who had conducted a similar inquiry after the 2016 release of testimony. I know that Coach Schiano will continue to have great success in his coaching career and wish him and his family well.
I am grateful for your patience as our search for the next leader for the Tennessee football program continues, and I look forward to making that introduction soon.”