On the same day that Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer has defended his defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, the Buckeyes athletic director has also stepped up and vouched for Schiano’s character.
Speaking to Doug Lesmerises of Cleveland.com, Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith praised Schiano’s quality of character as well as his coaching ability. Smith also dished a little bit on the role he played and timeline of the negations between Tennessee and Schiano.
“I’ve never seen anything like that before, never” Smith said of the back-and-forth situation with Volunteers administration and fans and state representatives on Twitter that ultimately ended with Tennessee backing away from their agreement. “So it’s a learning experience for me. I think this might be our first experience of this level of social media. I was shocked. I was actually more saddened, and it’s because it was so visceral about a person.”
And Smith wants programs in the future to do a batter job of thinking for themselves if they are considering hiring Schiano.
“Don’t judge him on an unsubstantiated accusation,” Smith said. “There was no level of substantiation around that accusation. None. And if you really get to know the man, you’ll find he has high integrity and great character.”
Smith says he and Meyer as well as other colleagues spent ample time vetting Schiano before bringing him into Columbus and got nothing but strong recommendations, Meyer’s included.
Smith says he had told Tennessee AD John Currie early in the search process that Schiano was ready to run a team again after his previous time as a head coach at Rutgers and with the NFL’s Tamps Bay Buccaneers.
If another team comes calling for Schiano in the future, here’s what Smith feels will be the result.
“In my view, they are going to get a great football coach and a great person.”