PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) — Greg Schiano may have traded his job as Rutgers University’s football coach for a new life in Florida as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers months ago.
But he is having trouble ridding himself of his last tie to the university.
The ex-coach’s custom-built 8,500-square-foot house — constructed with a Rutgers loan on land in Piscataway formerly owned by the university — has been on the market for more than seven months without a bite.
Schiano recently reduced the asking price from $2.3 million to $1.95 million, said his real estate agent, Michael Santini of Golden Key Realty. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom house features a mahogany-paneled office, gym, heated pool with a waterfall and a lower-level media and game room larger than some houses.
“It’s a very unique home,” Santini told The Star-Ledger of Newark. “It’s worth every penny.”
Rutgers officials said they have no interest in purchasing the property. However, they do want the $300,000 Schiano still owes them for helping build the house. Greg Schiano left Rutgers last year to become the head coach of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“It is due upon the sale of his home or within one year of his departure, which would be Jan. 26, 2013,” said Greg Trevor, a Rutgers spokesman.
Schiano built the house in 2007. At the time, he lived in the Martinsville section of Bridgewater. He said he wanted to move his family to a house that was both close to the football stadium and large enough to entertain players and those associated with the team.
“I think it’s good to be able to build a family atmosphere in your program,” Schiano said at the time.
In an unusual deal, the Rutgers Board of Governors voted to sell Schiano a wooded parcel of land on Logan Lane that had once been part of the university’s ecological preserve. The property, which was less than an acre, was about a mile from the football stadium on the opposite side of Route 18.
Rutgers lent Schiano $800,000 to build the house. Under his contract, the university forgave $100,000 of the loan every year he stayed coach. Because Schiano left before his contract was up, he owes Rutgers the remaining $300,000 left on the loan.
Under the agreement, Rutgers also had the right to buy the house from Schiano before it went on the market. But campus officials declined last spring.
The university still isn’t tempted to buy the house, even with the recently lowered price, said Trevor, the Rutgers spokesman.
“The answer continues to be the university does not have any interest at this time,” Trevor said.
The gourmet kitchen of the 8,500-square-foot house, built on former Rutgers land with a Rutgers loan, has been on the market for months The price has been cut to $1.95 million.
Schiano spent 11 seasons as coach of the Scarlet Knights, compiling a 68-67 record and taking the team to six bowl games. He was Rutgers’ highest-paid employee, as many NCAA Division I football coaches are on state college campuses.
Under Schiano’s perk-filled contract, he was earning $2.3 million a year when he announced he was leaving Rutgers in January for the National Football League.
His new deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is reportedly worth $15 million over five years. The Buccaneers also paid Rutgers $500,000 to cover a buyout penalty in Schiano’s contract.
Santini, Schiano’s real estate agent, said a few potential buyers have come to see the house since it went on the market. But there has been no serious interest. The $2.3 million asking price was reduced to $2.15 million in September and again to $1.95 million a few weeks later.
With annual property taxes of more than $23,500, the house is valued far above most residences in Piscataway. The sprawling Colonial stands out in its modest hillside neighborhood, where it is on a quiet cul-de-sac surrounded by homes valued around $300,000.
“That is a challenge,” Santini said.
Schiano lived in the house with his wife and four children. But he built it with several features designed for a football team.
The lower level includes a large gym and exercise room with mirrored walls, a rubberized floor and a steam shower. It also features a 42-by-30-foot media and game room with a projector, retractable wall screen and surround-sound system.
The Schianos furnished the game room with a pool table, arcade games and a 16-seat sectional sofa big enough to accommodate football players. The house’s gourmet kitchen features two large Sub Zero refrigerators.
Santini said the house no longer has furniture, and is available for showings by appointment. He remains hopeful it will sell soon.