(Full disclosure: I am a graduate of Rutgers School of Engineering, worked at Rutgers in college, a former football season ticket holder and huge fan of Rutgers sports.)

Rutgers University is in need of a football coach who can bring credibility to the university after firing their last one, Chris Ash, earlier in the season. The football program is in bad shape, routinely being shut out while losing 20 Big Ten games in a row. Their former coach, the currently unemployed Greg Schiano, brought them from arguably the worst NCAA Division 1 team in America to multiple bowl games and the Big Ten Conference. Schiano checked all the boxes in what Rutgers needs in a coach: NJ ties, a history of program building, high academic accomplishment by his student-athletes, knowing how to navigate the Rutgers system, and is actually a good coach. He did all this at Rutgers.

A match made in heaven, right? So it appeared. For the past few weeks, Rutgers and Schiano were in negotiations to bring him back home. But last weekend, it was reported that negotiations had ended. Press reports from the Newark Star Ledger/nj.com yesterday indicated that the sides were not far apart when things broke down. Yet here they are with no deal (though the latest reports are that talks may be back on).

This is what deal mediation was designed for. Often the “last mile” is the longest when negotiating. Things are the toughest when negotiating the small details. But middle ground often exists. The sides put out positions: the “what they want.” Mediators help the sides determine and satisfy their interests: what they really need and why.

Positions can be mutually exclusive. Interests often are not.

If my mediation services can be of help to Rutgers and Coach Schiano to get this deal finished, I would like to offer it gratis. I learned my problem-solving skills at Rutgers and have used it for 30+ years to help others. I would love to be able to give back and maybe see Rutgers in the Rose Bowl. Pat Hobbs, contact me.