On Friday we posted our first of three editions of the best Syracuse coaches in football history. No. 3 on the list was Dick MacPherson who led Syracuse to great success during the 1980s. Not only did he set Paul Pasqualoni up for success on the field once MacPherson left for the New England Patriots, he also set Pasqualoni up to rank No. 2 in SU coaching history.
Pasqualoni coached the Orange for 14 seasons, recording a .644 winning percentages (a record of 107-59-1). That’s the highest winning percentage for an SU coach with the program for over eight seasons.
During Pasqualoni’s tenure, the Orange won the Fiesta Bowl over Colorado in 1992 and clobbered Clemson, 41-0, in the Orange Bowl in 1995 – Donovan McNabb’s first season. Besides McNabb, Pasqualoni recruited well in Connecticut, landing star players like Dwight Freeney.
Of course, Pasqualoni was fired after a bowl game loss in 2004. That decision remains one of the worst in Syracuse history. Pasqualoni was replaced by Greg Robinson – whose name rings out at Syracuse like Voldemort’s at Hogwarts. If not for that infamous decision, Syracuse may have remained respectable in the mid 2000s. Instead, Robinson nosedived the program to a .213 record in his four years. Outside of Jordan C. Wells in his one season at the helm in 1892, that’s the worst record by an SU coach in program history.
Syracuse is still looking to return to the heights of the Pasqualoni era. No longer do players like Marvin Harrison, McNabb, and Freeney – legends of the game – suit up for the Orange. Instead, suffering Syracuse fans have been forced to rewind the tapes and watch old games. There, they will find the glory days, when Syracuse was a force to be reckoned with. And prowling the sidelines they will see the second best coach in SU history.