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Top 3 Coaches in Syracuse Football History Part 3

Courtesy of Cuse.com

In the past week, the Fizz has listed the second and third best coaches in SU football history. Now it’s time to rank the best coach of all-time for Syracuse. 

Ben Schwartzwalder

Schwartzwalder coached at Syracuse for 25 years, longer than any other coach in the history of the program. While manning the helm, Schwartzwalder led the Orange to a 153-91-3 record, almost 50 more wins than any other coach in program history.

Schwartzwalder also coached some of the best players to ever play for Syracuse. The biggest name on that list is Jim Brown, who is arguably the best player in NFL history. While at Syracuse, Brown scored 21 touchdowns and ran for over 2,000 yards in three seasons. In 1956, Brown finished fifth in voting for the Heisman Trophy before being drafted 6th overall by the Cleveland Browns. 

Brown wasn’t the only star running back under Schwartzwalder. SU’s coach loved to rush the ball – and out rushed opponents by over 22,000 yards in his tenure. Besides Brown, Schwartzwalder also coached Floyd Little, Larry Csonka, Jim Nance and Ernie Davis. Davis became the first African-American player to win the Heisman trophy in 1961.

Schwartzwalder was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982 after taking the Orange to seven bowl games – when there were far fewer bowls. He also won four Lambert trophies, given to the best team in the East. The biggest moment in his coaching career was the 1959 Cotton Bowl when SU defeated Texas 23-14 for its first and only championship in program history. On the second play from scrimmage, Davis took a pass 87 yards to the house, setting the stage for one of the greatest games in Cotton Bowl history.

It is important to note that former African-American Syracuse football players, like the Syracuse 8, faced discrimination while playing at Syracuse under Schwartzwalder. That led to a boycott of the players – which actually totalled nine players during spring practice. While Schwartzwalder recruited African-American players at a time when few programs did so, these players were not treated equally. 

On the field, Syracuse was consistently one of the top programs in college football, routinely sending top draft picks to the pros. Since Schwartzwalder, no coach has come close to coaching as long at SU, nor come close to his winning ability.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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