It’s no secret that Syracuse Football has been struggling for the past few seasons; and when we say “few seasons,” it actually means decades. The Orange have only been above .500 four times in the past 20 years. You have to go back to the 1990’s and the Paul Pasqualoni days to find a consistently solid team that was expected to make it to bowl games.
So, when your program used to have a lot of success, but isn’t having the same luck now, what is the logical next step to remedy the situation? The obvious answer would be to reach out to the alumni and pick their brains, right?
Wrong. Well, at least Dino Babers and his coaching staff don’t believe in that method. In an interview done with WJPZ, Ousmane Bary, a defensive back that played at SU from 1989-92, said that the Syracuse program does not utilize the alumni enough.
One of the most damning lines from Bary in that interview comes at the very end.
“I went to BC; I felt at home. I went to UConn; I felt at home. I went to Penn State; I felt at home. I went to Syracuse; I felt like a stranger.”
That is just unacceptable. Whether the alumnus is Dwight Freeney or Joe Schmo, everyone that once played at Syracuse should feel at home when they step back on campus. Other schools, especially rival schools, should not feel more welcoming to Orange alumnus than SU.
It may not seem like a big deal. Some people will say that the current players are the ones that matter since they are the ones on the field on Saturdays. However, that is a horrible take. Successful programs should feel like families. You should always always be welcomed back to campus.
If you think about the big programs around the country that have had sustained success – Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson, etc. If you watch their games, they are always highlighting which alumnus is on the sidelines. They have guys coming back every game. The alumni pass along their wisdom and the entire team gets better.
Plus, having alumni present and feeling welcomed helps recruiting immensely. Recruits aren’t going to want to come to Syracuse if they aren’t going to be accepted after their four years, like Bary. Heck, Bary is currently a high school coach and said that he has wanted to send recruits to SU, but couldn’t in good faith. So, he has sent them elsewhere, usually to Syracuse’s opponents.
We obviously do not know if other alumni share Bary’s opinions, but from what he said, the alumni relations department within the Syracuse Football program needs to get it together.