In a recent Sports Illustrated story, Hall of Famer Thurman Thomas describes the Doug Marrone atmosphere in Buffalo as miserable.
“I don’t think it was a good fit. It got to the point where I didn’t want to come around because he was the head coach, but I still came around because I know a lot of the players. Hell, we love being around Rex. You can just feel like a big cloud has been relieved of the pressure players were going through. It’s a fun atmosphere now.”
There’s no doubt Rex is way looser and more personable than Marrone. And anytime you make a switch, the new guy gets all the love. Marrone’s personality flaws could also be part of his effectiveness. I once interviewed him at Big East Media Day, a few months after the first Pinstripe Bowl win. He appeared as though he would’ve preferred sitting at the DMV for two weeks, with non-stop migraines.
The program was coming off an 8-5 year, and a bowl win. Optimism was high. And Marrone seemed combative, and sullen. Look, I’m no Walter Cronkite. So maybe he was just annoyed at my questions. But most of them had to do with how bright the future seemed for SU. And his dour attitude carried over with almost every interview he did that day with all outlets.
Marrone’s meticulousness and never-satisfied demeanor helped reorganize am SU program that was lit on fire by Groobers. But it also has a tendency to suck the joy out of working around him. It was interesting to hear all the rock-throwing at Marrone when he left Buffalo. In both Western NY and Central NY. He didn’t make a lot of allies. While he might be an effective coach, there’s a reason he didn’t get one of the 7 million head coach openings around the NFL this offseason. And some of it probably has to do with stories like Thurman’s.
Do you think Marrone gets a bad rap from Syracuse and Buffalo fans? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section.