Rutgers fires Ash after 8 wins in 3-plus seasons

Patterson rushes for 3 TDs as Michigan crushes Rutgers (1:32)

Shea Patterson records three touchdowns on the ground in Michigan's 52-0 win over Rutgers. (1:32)

Rutgers has fired coach Chris Ash after the Scarlet Knights' 1-3 start, the school announced Sunday.

"We appreciate Chris' dedicated efforts on behalf of our football program, our department and our university," athletic director Pat Hobbs said in a statement.

Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile will serve as the interim head coach for the remainder of 2019. Campanile is in his second year on Rutgers' staff after serving as head coach of in-state powerhouse Bergen Catholic High School.

Rutgers also announced that offensive coordinator John McNulty has been fired. McNulty was in the second year of his second stint as Rutgers' offensive coordinator after a decade as an NFL assistant.

Ash's tenure ends after a 52-0 loss to Michigan on Saturday, marking Rutgers' 14th straight loss in the Big Ten. He went 8-32 in three-plus seasons at the school, never winning more than four games in a season, and was 3-26 in Big Ten play with two winless seasons in conference games.

Rutgers was his first head-coaching job after 16 seasons as an assistant at Iowa State, San Diego State, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Ohio State. Ash, 45, had most recently served as Ohio State's defensive coordinator and helped the Buckeyes to the national championship in 2014.

"This change is especially difficult because of the steadfast commitment that Chris and his family have made to our student-athletes," Hobbs said. "Progress has been achieved in many areas, but, unfortunately, that progress has not been realized on the field of play. As such, it is in the best interest of the program to make a change."

A Rutgers spokesperson confirmed that the team was told of the coaching change Sunday.

In late 2017, Rutgers extended Ash's contract through the 2022 season, awarding him an additional $5.1 million in compensation. NJ.com reported that Rutgers was contractually obligated to extend Ash because of NCAA sanctions placed on the program stemming from his predecessor, Kyle Flood.

As part of his buyout, Rutgers will owe Ash approximately $8.47 million, with part of his $2.3 million salary from this year still to be paid and the $7.5 million he is owed through the 2022 season.

McNulty's departure erases some long-awaited stability at offensive coordinator. The only offensive coordinator to coach for more than one season at Rutgers since he did it during his first stint in Piscataway from 2007 to 2008, McNulty has another year left on a three-year deal that pays him $625,000 this season. He is owed about $900,000.

Ash and McNulty's buyouts will be paid for by athletic department-generated funds, according to Rutgers.

Rutgers went 8-5 in its Big Ten debut season of 2014 but hasn't won more than four games since. Former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, who went 68-67 in 11 seasons and led the Scarlet Knights to six bowl appearances, could be a leading candidate to return. Schiano spent the past three seasons as Ohio State's defensive coordinator and briefly joined the New England Patriots' staff earlier this year before stepping down.

Other potential candidates include Texas A&M defensive coordinator Mike Elko, Army coach Jeff Monken, former Tennessee coach Butch Jones and Michigan linebackers coach Anthony Campanile (brother of Nunzio).

The Associated Press contributed to this report.