Rutgers hires Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash as football coach

Monday, December 7, 2015
New Rutgers football coach Chris Ash instructs Ohio State defensive back Tyvis Powell on Tuesday, March 4, 2014
wabc-AP Photo/Jay LaPrete

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Ohio State defensive coordinator Chris Ash has been hired to coach Rutgers.

Rutgers' board of governors approved Ash's contract on Monday.

The 41-year-old Ash has been defensive coordinator at Ohio State the past two seasons, building the defense into a top 20 unit nationally.

Ash replaces Kyle Flood. Flood was fired following a 4-8 season in Rutgers' second Big Ten campaign.

Ash - an Iowa native - is a first-time head coach. He played at Drake before beginning his coaching career there in 1997 as a graduate assistant, then defensive coordinator. Ash worked at Iowa State on two occasions.

Ash was the defensive coordinator at Wisconsin from 2011-12 before following coach Bret Bielema to Arkansas to be the defensive coordinator. Ash was hired by Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in 2014 to fix a defense that suffered late-season collapses to Michigan State and Clemson.

Ohio State won the national championship last season and went 11-1 this season, boasting its best defense since 2010. Ohio State is tied for fourth in the nation in yards allowed per play (4.39).

Ash will now face Meyer every season. Both Ohio State and Rutgers are in the Big Ten East, the stacked side of the conference that includes Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State.

The Scarlet Knights played poorly and had issues off the field. Flood was suspended by the university for three games in September improperly communicating with a professor. Seven football players were also arrested in September.

Flood and athletic director Julie Hermann were fired the day after the regular season finale. Patrick Hobbs was hired to replace Hermann, his first task to find a new football coach.