Now fans will see what direction the program is going

There are a lot of old sayings that make the point.

Smelly stuff flows downhill.

Cut off the head to defeat the enemy.

Wow. Those are pretty harsh as I’m thinking about Syracuse University bringing in the new athletic director chosen to direct a program pretty important to the community in which I live.

Mark Coyle is the man’s name. And I wrote a message to him in today’s edition of my Mark It Up community column for Syracuse Public Media site You can read it by clicking the link below.

(From Getty Images)

(From Getty Images)

It doesn’t have to be that bad, of course.

In his 10 years heading the Syracuse sports segment of the university on the hill, Daryl Gross made some moves that were wise. He left the basketball successes and tested rivalries of the Big East Conference behind to join the Atlantic Coast Conference instead.

He knew that would be better for football, and in the large picture, much better for the university’s pocket-book. And indeed, with two seasons in now with the ACC, the revenue check yearly from the decidedly more southern league is said to be some three times larger than those that were written by the Big East. Which is around in name only, for the private school basketball bunch while the football players from the old gang were left to rattle the smaller conference for new teams for a league called the AAC.

But Gross left after the NCAA put his Orange on probation for academic fraud in basketball, a hit to legendary coach Jim Boeheim’s career win list with 100 docked and reputation of unquantified amount locally and nationally. Afterward, Boeheim announced he’ll retire after three more seasons coaching.

Football was named in that report, too, and is on probation, and third-year coach Scott Shafer does not have that national championship of Boeheim’s and full houses in the Carrier Dome when Duke comes a calling and …

Well, the football team was 3-9 last season after Shafer did lead the Orange to a bowl victory his first season. There were many empty seats in the Carrier Dome even that year.

It will be interesting to see how Coyle, in from Boise State, proceeds. The community watches closely.

How much does your community care about its sports teams? When’s the last time a big hire was made in an important organization in your community, and how did it turn out? Do you prefer football or basketball or another college sport, and why?

13 thoughts on “Now fans will see what direction the program is going

  1. Truth be told, I always thought Dr. Gross was too showy in his position. You never heard anything much about Crouthamel over the course of what, 26 years or so, yet the program thrived pretty well. Football took a decidedly downward turn because of him and the struggles continue to this day.

    Still, this new guy seems to have a lot of supporters and obviously it’s not up to us to give him a shot at anything. I only hope things work out well for the school overall.


    • If the Orange can get to the level of the new AD’s last school, Boise State, well that would be a pretty big jump right there, Mitch. Hey, it was great to see you at the CNY Bloggers meet up last night. Thanks for dropping in here.


  2. Canada doesn’t do college sport. I mean, they still play games, but no one cares.
    We have a CFL franchise here and an NHL one, and the truth is, Ottawa people are the most ambivalent fans in the world. They put more effort into booing competitors than for cheering their own team. No one gives a damn until playoffs – either bitching about missing them, or suddenly becoming a fan if we make it.


  3. best of luck to all, with your new ad in syracuse. i’m a football fan, and happy and hopeful for our new hire, though i do love college basketball too –


    • Your new hire has a little bit of a track record for football success in your program and out, Beth. And I like your basketball coach because of his Syracuse roots. But of course our personal Big Ten rivalry because of my Terps …

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Uh, I live in Indiana, so the sports are pretty serious here. There are many people who wish it was still the 80’s, when we had Bobby Knight for IU and Lou Holtz for Notre Dame — some golden era, that was. No matter who coaches, there are legacies to contend with!
    I do get a lil basketball fever, some years a lil March Madness sets in. The football? Yawn.

    Liked by 1 person

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