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Syracuse Promotes Shafer to Head Coach: Did Darryl Gross Act Too Soon?

Shafer might be the right guy, but should SU have taken more time?

So our man Darius Kelly lets the cat out of the bag, and now the world knows Scott Shafer will assume the head coaching position at Syracuse. I’m glad the program has a guy like Kelly in the fray. Just means we’ll be getting some honesty around these parts. Ask a question, get an answer. I like that.

I also like Shafer quickly being promoted to Doug Marrone’s position. On New Year’s Day I suggested elevating Shafer to that spot when word first leaked about Marrone’s NFL interest being serious. Two days ago, I once again hammered home the necessity in making a swift decision to help stabilize recruiting.

Here’s why this has a good chance of working: Scott has A) success at Syracuse B) success at a bigger program C) respect of incoming recruits. These are the three most important dynamics Shafer brings to the table. His assistance in the defense developing from one of the worst in the country to a strength of the team shows he has tangible coaching qualities. His time at Stanford gives him perspective on where SU should be trying to ascend to. And most of the Orange commits have said as long as one of the assistants takes over the job, they’re not going anywhere.

Are there possible pitfalls as well? Of course. First, Shafer seems to view his media availability as a chore. We are not always happy, sunny people to have to deal with. However, coaching a college program is also being a salesman. You are marketing to recruits, players, fans and donors. Messages about your program and how the school is perceived is disseminated by the media. You need to be able to deal, especially as an unproven head coach. Marrone wasn’t Chris Rock, but he also professionally handled his media responsibilities, and his straight forward demeanor came through in pressers. Shafer needs to learn this technique. A common refrain you hear from Shafer’s critics is he lacks charisma.

You also have to hope Darryl Gross did his due diligence and interviewed other candidates. While Shafer may be the best man for the job, Orange Nation needs to hope he didn’t freak out and just stay as safe as possible. You can almost envision Gross huddled in a corner of his office when he heard Doug was leaving, muttering “It’s going to be okay. Scott can take over right? Yeah, I like Scott. He’s a good coach…” Let’s hope he reached out to some worthy candidates before pulling the trigger.

Who takes over the defensive reigns? How about Tim Daoust? Two years ago The Fizz profiled the interesting hire of Tim, assuming he might be groomed to take over the D if Shafer ever left for the NFL or a bigger school. Now it seems like maybe Marrone had a succession plan in place for awhile. Doug may have told Shafer he would be the next guy, and Shafer was responsible for finding his own replacement. There’s an awful lot of similarities between Shafer and Daoust.

There were hot young candidates out there like Bowling Green’s Dave Clawson who some believe would’ve been a much better hire. But ultimately it’s hard to disagree with SU’s decision to try and build off Marrone’s success, and keep as much continuity as possible.

Posted: D.A.

47 Comments on this Post

  1. Like the hire. Especially if the other coaches stay. I can see Shafer here 4-5 years before he bolts. Maybe in that time another SU alum (Tim Green,Walker, etc) will have gained more experience and will be ready to step in like Doug did and provide continued lift to the program.

    I agree DA, I think Doug had a succession plan. He was a good man, good coach and I think he thought of how to hand off the duties before he left. He loved and loves SU and I think he will come back and talk to the players and coaches so they understand why he left.

    As much as I loved Doug, even during the hard times, I don’t blame him for leaving. The NFL only comes calling once.
    The dream for all us Cuse/Bills fans is that Doug brings back the Bills to 90s status and Shafer continues Doug’s success.
    Lets stay positive, supportive, and keep promoting the best fan base in sports to recruits…Cuse Nation!!

  2. Also, I thing DDG’s comments about he knew the successor was in house was spot on. What wait to hire Shafer if you know? What we needed was instant stability in the wake of this storm. Edwards is looking at other schools, Smith is unsure…we need to lock them up quickly. Who knows what a few weeks wait would of done to them and other recruits, only to have hired Shafer again after those two weeks of interviews. Now Shafer and staff need to get on the phone and lock up this class asap! Good move on Dr.’s part.

  3. Stupid…….
    At least three more years of mediocrity.. When will Nancy and then Gross be out of our lives forever?
    Think small…act small..be small!
    Thank God they were never able to get around Jim and the basketball program!

  4. orangeinva

    Change can be difficult…
    Yeah we’re all upset about the secrecy and the lying.

    But it looks like Marrone had this move in mind for sometime. We had our bowl on 12/29. Jucos and early enrollees had to sign LOIs so they could enroll by mid January. This is happening during a blackout period where coaches and recruits aren’t to be communicating. It appears that the coaching staff(hopefully) is remaining intact. The “needle has been threaded” and the program can go ahead with little disruption.

    Marrone got what he wanted and CUSE should be able to move forward. It was a wild 6 days!

  5. You guys are probably right.. Schafer takes the job for no money…Syracuse on the Cheap!.. He had to.. No one else would had considered hiring him. The assistants stay for nothing..the facilities remain garbage..and SU Football remains garbage..lock up those 3star recruits..who the hell is going to play QB?
    This was an opportunity to take a step forward. Upgrade the program…No..an in house job..no name..no resume..no HC experience..no progress.
    Idiots saying SU is Good! Here we go again..we might as well have stayed in the Big East.
    Thank God for Basketball and Jimmy!
    This was our last best chance to save football at Cuse..
    We blew it!

  6. Dr. Bill

    Great Move!!!!!! what Cuse17 and others don’t seem to recognize is the limitations Syracuse has……everyone wants SU to be a Big Time Program…that takes Big Time Cash and we don’t have it!!! This is much like poker….you don’t want to give away your hand….Cuse will never say..we don’t have the money…..but they don’t have to do they, you can tell by the actions they take.
    We have to do with what we have….that is reality. We can win with Shafer….
    I hope he is able to keep this entire staff in tact, if so, we move forward with the momentum we already have. Our presence in the ACC alone will increase our potential to recruit…now, it is up to the coaches to land some players…….I love this move…Go Cuse!!!!

  7. Russell MacEachern

    Looks like we can count on having top 70 recruiting classes for a while,I wish DG would have taken this rare opportunity to look at some young blood!Ill admit I like Shafer but doing what he does best…DC!!Why rush with such a small class?The Jucos and ZA were already signed for early (Jan)entry and Carter,AEdwards are visiting other schools already so that ship has passed!!I dont think we’ll lose more than 1/2 at the most anyhow cause most arent highly sought after!Can we still get Laray Smith is the question and I think we can!Diaco would have created big buzz last nights game nowithstanding!Thank God the cupboard aint bare esp at RB and DL and with Zach Allen in the wings the future is still bright!”GoCuse”

  8. That’s it for me.. I’ll be back same time next year to remind you how stupid this was… There is no doubt!
    “SU is Good” are you xxxxx kidding me!

  9. Dr. Bill

    Cuse 17….Where is the money going to come from for the upgrades that Syracuse needs when the fans don’t come out and fill the Dome? Big time coaches want big time salaries……We don’t have the money to pay them!!!!! We have to try to get quality coaches on a limited budget!!! As fans, we want Nick Sabin type coaches and Alabama type players…….that takes cash that a small private school like Syracuse just doesn’t have. The economics of college sports has changed and we don’t have the cash to compete with the big boys…..Sorry, but that is the reality!!!
    You can’t compare basketball to football at this point. Why?1) Coach B. has been a consistent winner on the court 2) Our game facility plays to record crowds….$$$$$$ 3) Big East Basketball TV created an exciting National Brand for Cuse Basketball 4) We have a Hall Of Fame Coach and a national title 5) We have the Melo Center….Now contrast that with football, which costs more money to run . How to we recreate numbers 1- 5 in football and what is the cost…and where does the money come from?..You can start the donation for the new practice facility!!

  10. It’s a good move, it promotes stability. Now all that matters is if Anselmo and Adkins, one of them, not expecting both, to stay on. One is the key to NYC, the other the key to Gerogia/South.

  11. I love how the Fizz has a headline from a few days ago, “Why Syracuse must promote Scott Shafer quickly”. And now they have a headline saying, “Did Darryl Gross Act Too Soon.”

    Great job contradicting yourself and making yourself look stupid in the process.

  12. P. Jones

    No offense to Scott , but i would have talked to the Stony Brook HC . I think he would have been perfect for the job here , and probably wouldn’t leave as fast as others will .

    In any case … conrgats to Scott , and good luck in keeping the program going uphill .

  13. HedgeHog

    I believe naming Shafer as the next head coach is the right thing to do, for now. Sure there are half a dozen or so great candidates out there, but in terms of continuity, strength of program and recruiting – Shafer is the guy. This will be a great way to find of if he is as good or better of a HC that Doug Marrone and if he’s not, we look elsewhere. Nothing wrong with having the current staff run the team for the next few years while the AD and board quietly search for the ‘dream coach’. I’m not convinced any of the outside candidates would be any better than Shafer.

    That being said, I think the next step would be for the administration to look at a former player as an addition to the staff. Seems to have worked out nicely for Bball (Hopkins, Autry, McNamarra, etc). Perhaps bring in Tim Green, David Walker, Rob Konrad or Dan Conley, etc… to keep the traditions alive and instill some old time SU spirt in these kids. Heck even McNabb (I believe he is unemployed) – get him back involved in the program. Recruits would love playing for Donovan, great guy.

    Go kick some A.C.C. ! ! !

  14. smitty section 129

    Great move. We neee to keep this staff. I think morrison gets def coord job. Hackett keeping off coord gig is big. Now let’s keep the recruits.

  15. College FB is # 1 in this great nation of ours. College BB is second class. Look no basketball game means anything until March. The $$$$$$$$$ is CFB. That’s why all the changes. SU needs to improve its image(dougie helped kill that) and facilities, somehow. But what facilities does SU need?? The Dome is fine!! Maybe a retractable roof?? Better dorms?? Practise facilities. Title 9 killed any hope of that. At SU there more women sports than men’s sports. Hockey at SU is a perfect fit. God just think of that!!

  16. Shafer regads media conct as a “chore” Gee I wonder why.First yuou say hire him now whichI agree with and now there are second thoughts which by the way are absured.Scott may not have the energy of Marrone on some levels but he knows the game well enough to get wins and he trusts the coaches that are here now. If he held opinions that differed with Doug in this respect he wou;d now be in a position to make changes.Since we know thats not happening we shall see how he shuffles this deck. I like the move and the speed it was made which makes sense on all kinds of levels surprisingly.

  17. SHAFER IS FINE GIVEN THE NEED FOR CONTINUITY AT THIS UNTIMELY MOMENT WHEN WE HAVE NOT SEWED UP ALL OUR RECRUITS. THAT WILL BE IN FEBRUARY WHEN THEY SIGN ON THE DOTTED LINE (HOPEFULLY). WE ALSO KNOW THAT OUR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION ad IS NOT THE SWIFTEST PERSON IN UPSTATE NY AND, AS SUCH, NEVER CONTACTED ANYONE ELSE ABOUT CONSIDERING THE FB COACHING SPOT. SHAFER IS A SAFE, NON AGGRESSIVE PICK, WHICH IS ABOUT ALL WE CAN EXPECT FROM THE FLASHY ZUIT- SUITED ONE. LET US HOPE SHAFER IS SUCCESSFUL

  18. BillyMac

    What readers on this site have not mentioned regarding the promotion of Scott Shafer to HC of the Orange is LOYALTY. He will remain loyal to Syracuse University for giving him the opportunity and for believing in his ability to lead this football team. Have you ever been promoted in your job to another level? Your boss – someone believed in your abilities and hired from within – instead of looking elsewhere. Ideally that’s the way it should always be done and I applaud Marrone for having high quality assistants on staff to allow the university to promote form within.

  19. Some of you “supporters’are unbelievable. You hated Coach P, you hated Robinson (with good reason), you couldn’t say anything positive about DM and now you’re cracking on Scott Shafer. Why don’t you give everyone a break and become a Rutgers fan! Did you ever think that every great coach started out with someone giving them a chance. If you wonder why, in your narrow mind, “no one wants to coach at the Hill” that it could be because no one is every good enough. I’m sure if Saban came to Syracuse a number of your “experts’ would have negative things to say about him. Good Luck Scott. You’re going to need it with some of these idiots.

  20. Its all about the assistant coaches. And who stays. For Shafer’s sake!! The fraud is coming this Sunday to talk to players and staff about why he wanted to become more of a millionaire!! Let the JILLETTES have him. But I hope he leaves behind most of the assistants!!

  21. I guess Terrie hasn’t heard or read yet that Nate Hackett will be leaving for Buffalo as Head Coach Marrone has hired him to be the OC for the Bills.

    I guess our coaching staff was better than what the cry babies were hollering to get rid of them for.

    Well Terrie you got your wish asshole.

  22. Oregon announced plans to promote their offensive coordinator to head coach if Chip Kelly goes to the NFL. Chip Kelly, by the way, was promoted to head coach at Oregon from within. Just sayin…

  23. Russell MacEachern

    Hacketts gone Ron?Wow,thats a blow!!

  24. @Russell MacEachern; read the above post from Dennis Ramella & BillyMac. I guess I’m not the only one who feels,some of the people who call themselves Syracuse Fans are complete freaking idiots. The people who are doing the complaining set home watch the game on tv, getting fat eating potato chips and drinking beer all day long. Armchair quarterback types that have probably never been to the dome to support the team.EVER!!!

  25. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,read the posts and completely agree!!Most today dont realize how much guys from our generation put HIGH VALUE on LOYALTY!!A lot of stuff I dont like I just wont say on our site if I think it could be perceived negative for the good of our fans spirits and Ive noticed ur the same way!Though sometimes u and I feel so strongly about something we cant contain ourselves!HaHa..

  26. @Russell MacEachern;

    My problem Russell is I take people to be honest when telling me something. I can’t call anyone a liar until something they say is proven wrong and when that happens I generally lose respect for them when I find out that they had lied.

    Four years ago we hired a coach who told us that he was dedicated to Syracuse University,who had convictions,morals,discipline,was an alumni and a person who would change course for the university. When he announced that he was leaving us for the NFL it hurt Russell,really hurt. I can’t be mad at a man who has reached the pinnacle of his profession after all there are only 31 others that do that job. I guess if I were in his shoes,I would have done the same thing.

    Yesterday when the news came out that Scott Shafer would become our next head coach,some of the fans started in complaining about him and he hadn’t been on the job a day,not one day. I think it’s high time that people shut their mouths and let the coaches do the coaching and for us the fans who support the team go and have a good time watching them play.

    I also believe that it’s time for Nancy Cantor and Dr. Gross to get off of their asses and support Scott Shafer and his staff and this football team. They need more money and better facilities and I believe it’s time that the university parted ways with some of their loot.

  27. Coach Shafer;

    Your press conference earlier today was totally awesome man. I hope that you and your staff can live up to the billing that you’ve given the team. I’m looking forwards to the 2013 season.
    I’m just trying to remember as to when I heard the head football coach use profanity during his acceptance speech. I’m going back to the Frank Maloney era and your the first to ever do that.

    Good job,give em hell coach,GIVE EM HELL.

    That Damn ACC statement was priceless,just priceless. And yes I think that Syracuse is going to do better than what people are thinking for next year.

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