BTN.com staff, December 5, 2015
(AP) — Rutgers has an agreement with Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash to become the Scarlet Knights' new coach, a person who has been briefed on the decision told The Associated Press on Saturday.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the deal was still pending approval by the university's board of governors. A news conference to introduce Ash is expected Monday.
SI.com was first to report Ash would be the next coach at Rutgers.
The 41-year-old Ash has been with the Buckeyes the last two seasons, revamping a defense that had struggled before he was hired by Urban Meyer. Ohio State ranked in the top 20 nationally in total defense the last two seasons.
Ash will replace Kyle Flood, who was fired after the Scarlet Knights went 4-8 this season, their second as a member of the Big Ten.
Ash is an Iowa native who has never been a head coach. He played at Drake and began his coaching career there in 1997 as a graduate assistant and then defensive coordinator.
He had two stints at Iowa State and was defensive coordinator at Wisconsin from 2011-12. After a year as defensive coordinator at Arkansas under Bret Bielema, Ash was hired by Meyer in 2014 to fix a defense that fell apart late in the season in losses to Michigan State and Clemson.
The Buckeyes won the national championship last year and went 11-1 this season with their best defense since 2010. Ohio State is tied for fourth in the nation in yards allowed per play (4.39).
At Rutgers, Ash will get to face Ohio State every season. The Scarlet Knights play in the loaded Big Ten East with the Buckeyes, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State.
He is the second defensive coordinator to move within the division to become a head coach. Maryland hired D.J. Durkin away from Michigan earlier this week.
Rutgers is coming off a terrible season on and off the field. Flood was suspended in September for three games by the university for impermissible communication with a professor. Seven football players were arrested in September.
Both Flood and athletic director Julie Hermann were fired the day after the regular-season finale. Patrick Hobbs was hired to replace Hermann.