Syracuse May Have Hired Its Next Defensive Coordinator, Tim Daoust

The mysterious new assistant with no title may be important if Scott Shafer leaves.

Tim Daoust has just become the newest member of the Syracuse coaching staff. What he exactly does, however, is a total mystery. Ever played the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? That infamous moment Daryl Gross was talking on two cell phones at once was because he finally connected himself to Bacon using just one degree. “Hey, did you know we both used to work in L.A.!?”

The Fizz wanted to track down just exactly how new (fill in the blank) coach Tim Daoust came to be a member of the Syracuse football staff. Daoust doesn’t have a title yet. Right now he’s just an assistant with no designation as to where he’ll be assisting.

Prepare for The Fizz’s acclaimed National Signing Day coverage two weeks from now. On Feb. 2nd Team Fizz will have you covered with live blogging and interviews with the commits all day long. Also, cast your Syracuse vote in the Volvo Big East Challenge. Grass roots movement – it’s go time.

Daoust is an Ohio guy through and through, just like SU’s defensive coordinator. He went to high school in Toledo, redshirted a year for Bowling Green football, and then finished out his career at Wittenburg University. (Don’t worry, we’ve never heard of it either.)

After finishing school, he spent time on the staffs at Northern Illinois (2002-2003), Illinois State (2004), Cincinnati (2005), Western Michigan (2006-2009), and finally Central Michigan (2010).

According to SU Athletics: “(In 2006), WMU led the nation in interceptions (24), sacks (46) and finished sixth in run defense, seventh in turnover margin, 11th in total defense and 14th in opponent third down conversions. The Bronco defense also broke a 33-year old a Mid-American Conference record by allowing just 76.1 rushing yards per game.”

And how did Shafer improve the Syracuse defense? He took the “D” from the 101st in the country to a top 20 outfit. Not too shabby for a guy at his fifth school in seven years.

Both guys have proven to be catalysts for improvement. So how does this relate to Daoust? When Doug Marrone was looking for a coach to run his defense, he got a great lead from a guy named Bill Mallory. Having worked at several schools in the midwest, Mallory coached a man named Joe Novak, who is the former head coach at Northern Illinois.

Shafer was a coordinator for Novak for eight seasons at NIU. Shafer got his start as a graduate assistant under Mallory at Indiana in 1991.

Daoust got his start as a graduate assistant under Novak at NIU in 2002. Four years later, he was working as the defensive line coach at Western Michigan for – yep, Shafer, then the Broncos defensive coordinator.

The ties here run deep. Shafer and Daoust are two Ohio guys who were educated under the same coaching philosophies, and have worked on the same staff. In simpler terms: Mallory => Novak => Shafer=> Daoust. Four degrees of Mallory. See, everything is better with Bacon.

So what about that pending job title for Daoust? He’s on the coaching staff, and there’s an opening for special teams coach with Bob Casullo gone. But Daoust has a background in defensive line and secondary coaching, so that sounds unlikely.

When trying to improve on an already stellar defensive unit, you can see why Marrone would want Daoust. He and Shafer seemingly have similar mindsets. Marrone’s new addition to the staff is just a little over 30, so Daoust has plenty of years in coaching.

But what if Scott Shafer leaves Syracuse in the near future? He’s got connections to Jim Harbaugh from their time at Stanford. He’s worked under Rich Rodriguez (who’s bound to land another HC job soon). Now his recent success with SU. It’s possible another solid defensive season for the Orange and Shafer may land a head job of his own or jump to the NFL as an assistant (San Francisco?).

Marrone seems to have brought in the person with the most similar college football DNA to Shafer in Daoust. It’s possible SU just hired it’s next defensive coordinator.

Daoust looks to be a good hire right now, and maybe an even better one down the road.

Posted: Mike Couzens

28 Comments on this Post

  1. John Maroney

    Vic Fangio is Jim Harbaugh’s defensive guru at Stanford and both were formerly with Indianapolis Colts. Tim Daoust will coach DB’s and Anselmo will stay with Special teams and be asst head coach.

    NET Anselmo slides over and replaces Casullo .

  2. Braintree Butcher

    Not a good article, DA. There is no threat of Shafer leaving SU to work for Rodriguez, considering RRod used him as the fall guy for his terrible first season at UM. But more than that, Daoust has zero experience as D-C. If Shafer ever gets replaced, someone with D-C experience will get the position. To me this is DM giving Shafer free reign to hire his own defensive assistants, in order to retain Shafer. It expect Casullo’s old title (Assoc HC, or whatever it was) to be given to Shafer along with a pay increase.

  3. Butcher,

    Any relation to one Dexter Morgan from Bay Harbor?

    Anyways, I think Couzens is trying to paint a picture of Shafer as an in-demand guy down the pike. Anybody who turns a 110th ranked defense into a top-20 unit in two seasons is gonna get interest at some point.

    Rodriguez and Harbaugh were more anecdotal then substantive, to illustrate that he has
    solidified a spot in the “coaches networking club.”

    As we saw with Groobers, it’s not always what you know, but who you know. And with Shafer seemingly possessing both skills (what and who) Marrone needs to think about the future.

    HCDM was groomed to be an offensive coordinator, and eventually a head coach… No reason Daoust can’t be apprenticed to do the same thing on defense.

  4. Does anyone on this site realize that Syracuse has a top 5 basketball team? All I see on this site is football talk. Maybe we’ve grown complacent with the hoops team being ranked year after year but I think a little more stories on a national championship contender and less stories about a random football coach without a role will do this site some good.


  6. Jerome…is that you?

    ::there’s a rubber room up ahead…you’re entering…THE JEROME ZONE!!!::

  7. Jerome – Tune in Sunday. I will have a basketball post. And a little message for you and some of your friends.

  8. Dan Hearlihy

    If you’ve never heard of Wittenberg U. you probably ought to update your resume and start circulating it, ’cause you sure don’t know much about football.

  9. Nice… but Jeff Teague aint bad either. He’s stepping up in these playoffs. Hawks in 7!

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