Rutgers Students Meet Ash, Hobbs to Discuss New Direction for Athletics
By Nick Kosko
New Athletic Director Pat Hobbs and Football Head Coach Chris Ash offered a chance for students to sit down at an event at the Student Activities Center to hear what they had to say on the progress of the athletic programs.
Students were also presented with a chance to ask any questions they felt necessary.
Ash discussed multiple topics about the football team including how he will prepare his squad to compete in the ultra-competitive Big Ten East Division.
Hobbs addressed all of the athletic programs and also answered queries about the financial situation and how the university would upgrade facilities.
Kaitlyn Anthony, a freshman in the School of Arts and Sciences, is a big football fanatic and jumped at the opportunity to meet the new man in charge. Needless to say, she approves of the hire already.
“I think Ash brings a great new culture to the program that hasn’t been present in recent years. Going forward I think he will have a positive impact on the current players and many recruits he is going to try and bring to this school, especially all of the Jersey guys,” Anthony said.
When hearing about Hobbs’ plans for the new athletic facilities, such as a new practice arena for basketball to sell to recruits, Anthony felt confident men’s and women’s basketball would be up to par with other Big Ten schools.
Currently, men’s and women’s basketball games and practices are held in the R.A.C. Having a new practice facility will create more space and so multiple programs and not crammed into one location.
“I think the facilities make a huge difference in terms of recruiting,” Anthony said. “When high school kids are being recruited by Rutgers and they see a brand new practice facility, that will certainly catch their eye.”
Rutgers was in need of new hires; especially amid arrests, former head coach Kyle Flood being suspended, and an overall poor season for the football team. Flood was eventually fired right after the season along with former athletic director Julie Hermann.
Dylan Mruczinski, a Rutgers senior and WRSU Sports Director, felt the hires of both Ash and Hobbs were the right moves to put athletics back on the map.
“There has been a lot of turnover at the athletic director position recently so to me this is a home run hire,” Mruczinski said. “Rutgers has had its name on the wrong side of PR spectrum and I think Hobbs is going to do a great job keeping the programs out of the headlines for the wrong reasons. It stands out to me that he is extremely confident and definitely believes in what he is doing.”
As far as the facilities and resources, Mruczinski said Hobbs will need to focus on all athletics to ensure success and not just the big money makers like football and basketball.
“The first judgment of him will likely come down to the hiring of Ash and new basketball coach Steve Pikiell. As long as those hires turn successful there will be a sort of ripple effect to the rest of the school,” Mruczinski said.
When first hearing the news of the Chris Ash hire, Mruczinski said he was skeptical of him first due to a lack of knowledge. But after hearing him speak and seeing the progress he’s made in a change of culture, Mruczinski is buying in.
“I think Rutgers kind of exceeded expectations in 2014 with some success in the Big Ten and winning a bowl game,” Mruczinski said. “But since Ash came in he has preached to get past the disappointing season last year and he’s brought in Ohio State concepts and is really looking to build an intense culture that will bring in great players.”