In the wake of Tennessee's drama with coach Greg Schiano, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said he would "100 percent" vouch for the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach.
"100 percent. Yes. 100 percent. ... Zero reservations. Zero," Belichick said Monday when asked, per SI's Albert Breer.
Belichick also said he has the "utmost respect" for Schiano, who was denied Tennessee's head coaching position Sunday after backlash from the team's fans.
Schiano and Belichick have long had a close professional relationship, dating back to the former's time at Rutgers. Belichick's son, Stephen, played under Schiano as a long snapper in 2011. During his tenure with the Bucs, Schiano held joint practices with Belichick's Patriots.
The 51-year-old Schiano turned a dismal Rutgers program into a respectable one, posting a 68–67 record in 11 years including bowl games in six of his final seven seasons, before he jumped to the NFL to take over the Buccaneers. Schiano returned to the college game last year and has become Urban Meyer’s right-hand man at Ohio State.
Schiano went 11–21 in two seasons with the Buccaneers, then spent time working as an analyst for ESPN before returning to coaching.
Tennessee fired Butch Jones on Nov. 12 after the Vols fell to 4–6 and 0–6 against SEC opponents on the season. Jones went 34–27 over five seasons in Knoxville.