In his time as Syracuse’s Athletic Director, Dr. Daryl Gross has gotten his fair share of criticism. Much of it is warranted, but right now, Gross has the Orange moving in the right direction as a whole, and is the right man to lead the Orange into the ACC.
Gross’s tenure has not been without the bad. Of course, there was the hiring on Greg Robinson, which SU is still recovering from more than nine years after the decision was made and six years after he was fired. Yes, that hire may have set back SU football about five years, but the two coaches Gross has hired since look like slam dunks. Doug Marrone did such a good job righting the ship that he was hired away to the NFL. And even though it is just one season, Scott Shafer looks like he is on his way to being a great college coach as well, as Gross even said as much last week to Syracuse.com. As bad a hire Robinson was, the program was already on a decline following the great years under Coach Mac and the early part of Pasqualoni’s tenure.
The next big criticism of Gross is the delay of the new football practice facilities. This is very much warranted. Syracuse’s football facilities need updating, and they needed to be updated before the Orange moved into the ACC. But it still hasn’t happened. Now, construction is not expected to begin until at least after Memorial Day weekend. This means there is likely no chance these facilities are ready for next season. While the designs of the practice facility may be another point of contention, it almost doesn’t matter what the building looks like at this point, it is just important that the building gets done as soon as possible.
Lastly, football game attendance has been a notable problem. It has not been at the level it should be as a major conference program. The attendance needs to get better, but this is unfairly put on Dr. Gross. The attendance being in the 30,000s is not only Dr. Gross’ problem, but also falls on the students, the school, the team and the fans.
Ultimately, it is important to look at the good things Dr. Gross has done for Syracuse University. He has brought the university into the ACC, bringing in more revenue to the athletic department. He has moved on from the Groober era by hiring both Doug Marrone and Scott Shafer. The football team has played in, and won, a bowl game three of the last four seasons. The basketball program is poised for success for years to come, and it looks like there is a plan to elevate Mike Hopkins to head coach when Jim Boeheim decides to retire.
Gross is moving into a territory where his biggest negative, hiring Greg Robinson, is nearly 10 years in the past. He has since taken steps to grow the football program through advertising, creating the “New York’s College Team” slogan, and hiring the right coaches. Gross moved the Orange into the ACC at the right time and brought more money into the school. Doc Gross has show that even with the problems he has had, he is the right person to lead the Orange as they continue to transition into the ACC.
Posted by: Seth Goldberg