Rutgers has officially moved on from Chris Ash as head coach, but they aren’t exactly off the hook with him just yet. In fact, he may be on the payroll for another few years.
As reported by NJ.com, Rutgers still owes Ash a total of $8.47 million that was due on his remaining contract. In 2017, Ash signed a new contract that ran through the 2022 season and expired in Feb. 2023. Rutgers originally hired Ash on a five-year deal in 2015 that would have expired after the 2020 season, which would have saved the school a good amount of money in the long run. As it stands, the school owes Ash for three-and-a-half unpaid seasons of work.
Of course, there could always be some negotiation between the two sides as they go their separate ways. If Ash happens to take another job, Rutgers wouldn’t necessarily be off the hook for his bi-weekly payments either. Rutgers would simply be required to pay the remaining difference between what he is owed under the Rutgers contract and the pay he receives from any potential new contract he receives elsewhere.
But, according to NJ.com, Ash and Rutgers will have to agree on a separation agreement. While Ash is entitled to the full amount owed to him under his contract, it is always possible a lower buyout fee may be agreed to as the process plays out.
If you were Ash, it’s not the worst thing in the world to take some time off and collect those paychecks from Rutgers, but odds are he will return to a football program as a defensive coordinator at some point before he is considered for another head coaching position in the near future.
After going 1-11, Rutgers head coach Chris Ash knows there really is no particular area of the team that should be considered safe this offseason. In a potentially pretty critical offseason for Ash after his third season in charge of the Scarlet Knights with a cumulative record of 7-29, Ash is reportedly making some adjustments to his coaching staff.
Among those changes is the hiring of a new defensive coordinator. According to multiple reports, Ash will replace Jay Niemann with Andy Buh as defensive coordinator, according to NJ.com. Buh spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Maryland under former head coach D.J. Durkin and interim head coach Matt Canada. With Maryland hiring Mike Locksley away from Alabama to lead the Terrapins program moving forward, Buh became available amid coaching changes in College Park.
Maryland had the Big Ten’s 7th-ranked defensive unit last season, allowing 390.4 yards per game. Maryland also allowed 28.7 points per game, which ranked 9th in the Big Ten. While those ranks may seem rather pedestrian to many, it is important to remember just how low Rutgers was in those defensive categories. Rutgers allowed 31.4 points per game, with only Illinois allowing more points per game among Big Ten teams last fall. Rutgers also gave up 401.5 yards per game last season, an average that actually improved with the defensive yardage allowed in a positive trend over the last month of the season against Wisconsin, Michigan Penn State and Michigan State.
Ash has already made a couple of staff changes and there could be even more to come before all is settled for the program ahead of spring practices and the upcoming signing day. Given Ash has already had to receive a vote of confidence from Rutgers last November amid a miserable football season, it is fair to suggest Ash needs these staff changes to lead to some noticeable result son the field next fall. If they do not, he may not get the chance to make any more adjustments himself.
Needing to fill one spot on the coaching staff, Rutgers head coach Chirs Ash has reportedly added former Miami Ohio defensive line coach Corey Brown to fill the same role on his staff in New Jersey. A report from NJ.com confirmed the hiring of Brown over the weekend.
Brown will come to Rutgers after four years at Miami Ohio, but Brown is no stranger to the Big Ten. Brown played college football at Iowa. Brown will have a young defensive line to work with at Rutgers as the Scarlet Knights continue to try and beef up their presence on the line against Big Ten opposition. The disadvantages on the line of scrimmage continue to be one of the biggest areas of concern for Rutgers as the program prepares for its fourth season as a Big Ten member in 2018.
Rutgers was 12th in the Big Ten with 16.0 sacks and 13th in the conference with 50.0 tackles for loss last season. The Scarlet Knights also ranked 11th in the Big Ten in rushing defense after allowing 181.83 rushing yards per game.
Ash has taken strides in attempting to change the way the defensive line has been built, but the kind of change Rutgers has needed to undergo does take time before the program can start going toe-to-toe with division opponents like Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Michigan State. It may end up being another work in progress this upcoming season.
Brown will replace Shane Burnham as defensive line coach. Burnham left Rutgers for a job at UCF with new head coach Josh Heupel.
A former Rutgers head coach may be having a difficult time being hired for another head coach gig, but current Rutgers head coach was just given a boost of confidence from his bosses. According to a report from NJ.com, Rutgers has reworked the contract of Chris Ash to now run through the 2022 season, giving Ash a two-year extension as a result.
Ash originally signed with Rutgers in December 2015 on a five-year contract, which was valued at $11 million. In addition to commitments to improve the football facilities, Rutgers is now investing more in their head coach as part of the new agreement in place. Per NJ.com;
The two additional years on top of the three he had remaining are worth $5.1 million total, according to a Rutgers official. Ash’s starting salary was $2 million per year with annual raises of $100,000 and those terms remained unchanged: He will make $2.2 million in 2018.
As noted in the report, this is actually the first official contract Ash will have on the record. The previous two seasons, Ash was working off a signed Memorandum of Agreement with the promise of working out an official contract. That deal was in place as Rutgers was awaiting word from the NCAA on any potential sanctions stemming from incidents that occurred under the previous head coach, Kyle Flood.
Ash took the Rutgers job prior to the 2016 season, his first job as a head coach after serving as an assistant under Urban Meyer at Ohio State. The first year on the job did not go well with a rebuilding project on his hands and injuries to key players. The Scarlet Knights went 2-10 in 2016 and suffered humiliating losses in Big Ten play. The 2017 season saw some steps forward for the Rutgers program result in doubling the win total from the previous season. The gaps between Rutgers and the top programs in the Big Ten were still visible from the moon and the season ended with a loud thud in the form of a 40-0 loss at Indiana and a 40-7 setback at home against Michigan State, but the larger picture of Rutgers in 2017 had some positives the 2016 season simply did not.
Rutgers offensive coordinator Jerry Kill has a well-documented history battling seizures, and unfortunately, it has once again resurfaced over the weekend. According to a report from NJ.com, Kill has been hospitalized for a minor seizure on Sunday morning, but he is expected to return to work as soon as today, according to Rutgers head coach Chris Ash.
The seizure may have been a result of a sideline collision involving Kill during Saturday’s game at home against Eastern Michigan.
“Coach Kill had a minor medical setback,” Ash said, according to NJ.com. “He is going to be fine. Saturday, early in the game after the first drive, he got tumbled up. He was really discombobulated in the first half from it and had some headaches Saturday night.”
Ash said Kill is doing fine and just awaiting release from the hospital later today or tomorrow.
Kill parted ways with Minnesota after the two sides were unable to work out a new contract for an administrative role following the 2015 season. Kill had stepped away from coaching the Gophers earlier in the 2015 season, citing health concerns related to his seizures and epilepsy preventing him from being able to focus on the job of head coach the way he would prefer. Kill had fallen victim to seizures on sidelines during his time at Minnesota and made the decision that was best for his health and the program at the time, but his desire to stay involved as a coach never went away.
Rutgers signed Kill as an offensive coordinator this year, with Kill suggesting his ongoing seizure concerns will not interfere with his coaching. That will hopefully be the case here.