#STINGDAILY: Getting to know new ACC member Syracuse
Taking a closer look at the Orange who come to Bobby Dodd Stadium on Oct. 19
July 5, 2013
Jon Cooper, Sting Daily -
Chancellor and President: Dr. Nancy Cantor
Athletic Director: Dr. Daryl Gross
Senior Woman Administrator: Dr. Renee Baumgartner
Faculty Representative: Mike Wasylenko
School Colors: Orange
Stadium: Carrier Dome
Watering hole you must visit: Empire Brew Company
Restaurant you must visit: Dinosaur Bar-b-que
Things to see while there: Destiny USA, Rosamond Gifford Zoo, The MOST, Armory Square, Visit one of the many nearby state parks, Finger Lakes Wineries.
Orange Links Website: SUAthletics.com
Greatest former athletes/coaches: Football: Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, Tom Coughlin, Al Davis, Larry Csonka, Dwight Freeney, Tim Green, Marvin Harrison, Qadry Ismail, Daryl "Moose" Johnston, John Mackey, Donovan McNabb, Otis Wilson; Men's Basketball: Carmelo Anthony, Dave Bing, Jim Boeheim (player and coach), Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Gerry McNamara, Dwayne "Pearl" Washington, Hakim Warrick; Baseball: Dave Giusti; Track. Jarret Eaton.
Greatest sports accomplishments: Since 1900, Syracuse has 26 team championships, with the lion's share coming in men's lacrosse, where they've won 15 times, 11 times since 1983. They've won one national championship in football, in 1959, and an NCAA Basketball championship in 2003, led by Carmelo Anthony, the tournaments M.O.P.; The Orange have had 44 football players earn All-American honors a total of 55 times and have had 18 players inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame; Individually, Jarret Eaton was NCAA Champion of the 60-meter hurdles on his way to being named a 2012 USTFCCCA First Team All-American.
Talking a Good Game: Syracuse has long been known as "Broadcaster U" and for good reason. Here are just some of the most distinguished voices and personalities from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Marv Albert, Bob Costas, Marty Glickman, Sean McDonough,Dick Stockton, Mike Tirico, Matthew Berry, Ian Eagle, Beth Mowins, Dave Pasch, and Jayson Stark. SU also is the home of Sportscaster U., a career-development program for professional athletes, whose alumni include Shaquille O'Neal, Eric Snow, Malik Rose and Brevin Knight.
Other Notable alumni: Ted Koppel, Joe Biden, Donna Shalala, Joyce Carol Oates, William Safire, Robert Jarvik (invented the first permanently implantable artificial heart), Lt. Col. Eileen Collins '78, first female space shuttle commander, S.I. Newhouse, Chairman of Conde Nast Publications, Harry M. Rosenfeld, editor of the Washington Post during Watergate, Dick Clark, Taye Diggs, Peter Falk, Frank Langella, Lou Reed, Aaron Sorkin, Jerry Stiller, Peter Weller, Vanessa Williams. and Russ Alben, the advertising executive who created the tagline "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking" for Timex.
Syracuse Football's Colorful Story
Syracuse's athletic tradition began as the Orange in 1890 -- actually the second season of the football program's existence.
In Year One, 1889, the school played one game, wearing pink and blue in its lone game against Rochester.
Following the 36-0 loss, SU changed its colors, as well as its luck, donning Orange, which they have proudly, and much more successfully, worn ever since. The Orange begin the 2013 season with an all-time record of 683-497-49, a .581 winning percentage, and have a 14-9-1 record in 24 bowl games.
As would be expected with any program in existence for that length of time, there have been ups and downs. Frank J. "Buck" O'Neill was the first and one of the most successful coaches in school history, coaching the team to a combined 52-19-6 record in three different stints, including leading the school to a 9-1-2 record and a Rose Bowl invitation in 1915 (they turned it down having already made a trip to the West Coast that season). During the 1915, '17 and '18 seasons (he didn't coach in 1916), Syracuse went a combined 22-3-3.
The program had success throughout the '20s and '30s, coached during that time by, amongst others, Vic Hanson, who coached football, basketball and baseball and is the only player ever to be inducted into both the College Football and Basketball Halls of Fame, but then began to wane in the '40s, recording only two winning seasons from 1939 through 1951.
Things began to change in 1949 when Floyd Benjamin "Ben" Schwartzwalder took over. After a 4-5 debut season, Schwartzwalder would not experience another losing campaign until 1972. He would retire in 1973, having led Syracuse to a 153-91 record (a .627 winning percentage) and bringing home the school's lone National Championship in 1959.
The '59 Orange finished 11-0, capping the season with a 23-14 win over Texas in the Cotton Bowl. The squad was dynamic offensively, gaining 451 yards per game, while the stalwart defense gave up 193 rushing yards of offense the entire season! Schwartzwalder was named National Coach of the Year. He would be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982 and was further honored in 1993 by the creation of the Schwartzwalder Trophy, given to the winner of the Syracuse-West Virginia game. Syracuse is 9-11 in the series but has won the last three games.
The '50s saw the arrival of one of the greatest successions of running back talent in college football history.
It started in 1954 with the arrival of Jim Brown. Brown earned 10 varsity letters in four different sports (basketball, football, lacrosse, and track), was a unanimous All-American in football and lacrosse in '56, and led SU to a 7-2 record in 1956. He had maybe the greatest days in college football history that Nov. 18, when he scored an NCAA-record 43 points, scoring six touchdowns and kicking seven PATs, in the 61-7 rout of Colgate, completing a 7-1 season and getting the Orange into the Cotton Bowl (they would fall, 28-27, to TCU). Brown would be followed by Ernie Davis, who in 1959 would be the first African-American to win the Heisman and is still the school's only Heisman Trophy winner. Davis was followed by Floyd Little. All three are in the College Football Hall of Fame and inspired "The Legend of 44." The number would later be worn by College Hall of Fame fullback Larry Csonka amongst others and was retired by the school in 2005.
Syracuse has only one national championship but has had several superb seasons, including the memorable 1987 season, when the Orange went 11-0 then was tied by Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Dick MacPherson was named National Coach of the Year in '87, while quarterback Don McPherson won the Maxwell Award and was runner-up for the Heisman. The following season, Syracuse won 10, recording the school's first back-to-back 10-win seasons.
MacPherson left for the NFL following the '90 season, but the mantle was picked up by Paul Pasqualoni, who had back-to-back 10-win seasons in '91 and '92 then recorded back-to-back-to-back nine-win seasons from 1995-97, with Donovan McNabb leading the way. Pasqualoni would coach the Orange until 2004, but was done in by a pair of 6-6 seasons, the latter ending with a 51-14 Champs Sports Bowl loss to Georgia Tech. That loss ended his run.
After some tough years in the early '00s, the Orange, appear to be on the way back up, putting together 8-5 seasons in two of the last three years under Doug Marrone, the former Georgia Tech assistant, who was hired in January by the Buffalo Bills. They will try to continue their ascension in the ACC's Atlantic Division under Marrone's defensive coordinator, Scott Shafer. They leave the BIG EAST with a 76-75 all-time record.
Home, Sweet Home: Syracuse has had only three home fields in their existence, the Oval, where they played from 1895 through 1906 and were 57-11-2 (.829 win percentage), Archbold Stadium, where they would play from 1907 through 1978 and put up a 265-112-20 (.693) then the Carrier Dome, their current home, where they have been since 1980 and have a 124-74-2 record (.625).
Vs. Georgia Tech: Syracuse and Georgia Tech have only met twice on the gridiron, with the Yellow Jackets winning both times. Coincidentally, neither team has hosted a home game. In 2001, the Yellow Jackets bested the Orange, 13-7, at the season-opening Kickoff Classic, played in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The teams then closed the 2004 season on Dec. 21, 2004, with the Jackets thrashing the Orange, 51-14, at the Champs Sports Bowl, at Florida Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando.
Close But No Cigar: Ernie Davis is the only Syracuse player to win the Heisman Trophy but the Orange have had six other players finish in the top-five in balloting. Donovan McNabb was fifth in 1998 when Texas running back Ricky Williams won the award, Don McPherson was runner-up in 1987 to Notre Dame wide receiver Tim Brown, Larry Csonka was fourth in 1967 to UCLA QB Gary Beban, Floyd Little twice finished fifth, in 1966 to Florida quarterback Steve Spurrier, then in 1968 to USC tailback Mike Garrett and Jim Brown was fifth in 1956 to Notre Dame's Paul Hornung.
A True American Hero: Wilmeth Sidat-Singh, Class of '39, was a true hero while at Syracuse and after. He starred at quarterback in football and played basketball. After graduating with a Zoology degree, he played pro basketball, but was denied the right to play pro football, as the NFL had a ban on African-American players. Sidat-Singh would join the military during World War II, passing the entrance exam for U.S. Army Air Corps in 1943 and was assigned to the Tuskegee Airmen. Tragically, he died when his P-40 fighter suffered engine problems and crashed during a training mission. The school retired his number 19 in 2005.
A view from up close
Matt Park (class of '97) has been "The Voice of the Orange" since 2004, when he took over for long time voice Doug Logan. Park, who also broadcast pro baseball, is an adjunct professor at the Newhouse School of Public Communications and a key part of "Sportscaster U.," which works in the development of pro athletes -- his alumni includes Shaquille O'Neal -- talked at length with Sting Daily about Syracuse Football and its move to the ACC.
Q: How is the ACC viewed and what is the general consensus on Syracuse joining the league?
Park: I think everybody views it as a more stable landing place. At the time the trigger was pulled to go to the ACC, the thought was Syracuse was going to be in a league where road trips would be to Waco, Texas, and Aimes, Iowa. That wasn't very appealing. The Big East was clearly crumbling and not representative of the conference that Syracuse helped found in the late '70s. So this idea of going to the ACC and the prestige and the stability that's involved there really made sense when the decision was made and it's only proven out to be more true as that's been solidified in the recent months.
Q: How is the move being viewed as from a football standpoint?
Park: Football is certainly trending up here but it's a little bit of an unknown. You're changing a couple of factors. Yes, you've got some momentum but you've lost a quarterback and a couple of good offensive linemen and some things off last year's team and more so, you've undergone a coaching change. Even if it is someone from within. Then you take out a whole new schedule of opponents that are at a higher level than the Big East was. I don't think it's a gigantic leap from the Big East to the ACC but it is a step up in the overall level of play and certainly the highest end of the ACC is higher than the best of the Big East in recent years. But that's fine. I think the football program is trying to raise their own bar. So the fact that the conference bar is raised a little bit is a challenge that they love to bring on.
Q: What are the greatest upsides to joining the ACC?
Park: The money (laughs). You can't argue that. Sure, stability is always the number one word, that the Conference isn't going to change appreciably in the next few years. The Big East has disintegrated completely to the point that there was no viable option for Syracuse to have stayed. If you look at Connecticut's decision or Cincinnati's you wouldn't trade with them. So being in the ACC offers up the proceeds and dollars of being affiliated with one of the top conferences -- certainly in basketball. It's one of the top conferences because of the strength of the member institutions, because of the television appeal, the marketing appeal across the region and across the country. That brings more money, which then allows you to upgrade your facilities, your coaching staff and to continue to get better. So that's appealing to everybody.
Q: Which Big East rivalries are Syracuse fans most likely to miss?
Park: One of the reasons the change is easier to make for football is that there really wasn't a great rivalry. West Virginia was a great series that occurred since the '50s. Same with Pittsburgh. But you're going to get to keep Pittsburgh. West Virginia is a bit of a loss but people didn't make that road trip. Connecticut and Rutgers I think they're going to get over not playing pretty quickly and when you go to the ACC you have a chance to get back some traditional rivalries. Certainly Boston College is an example and it looks like that is going to be kind of a regular Thanksgiving Saturday-type game. Syracuse has had plenty of great games with Virginia Tech and Miami. So that part of it is kind of cool. There's an element of the ACC that is as much the Big East as the Big East ever was. There was a time, in the '90s, the only teams winning the Big East were Miami, Virginia Tech and Syracuse. So those types of things are important to get back.
Q: Which road trip do you most look forward to making?
Park: I like them all. I've seen a football or basketball game at every ACC school except Georgia Tech. Syracuse has played all those schools in both sports in recent years. That's why the transition is not that big a leap. It's not like you're going to the Big 12 or something crazy. Cameron Indoor, obviously, is fantastic and football game day at Clemson, we did play Florida State a couple of years ago. We'll get to do that again this year. Carolina basketball, Georgia Tech's facility I'd like to see. I'd like to see a lot of these nice, cozy, outdoor football stadiums. They all have something cool about them and for me, being somebody that travels to the games, that's what I really enjoy.
Q: Can you name a great Syracuse football tradition that ACC fans may find interesting?
Park: I don't know what would fall into that category, what they know, what they don't know, what their appreciation is. When you start with Syracuse football it has to begin with what we call 'The Legend of 44.' Jim Brown recruited Ernie Davis, who recruited Floyd Little. They're all All-Americans and College Football Hall of Famers. Jim Brown might be the greatest player that's ever played the game. So that's certainly one of them. That's kind of a cool thing. Syracuse is going to be physical this goes back to the days of Ben Schwartzwalder, who coached through the '50s, '60s and '70s. It's going to be a physical team. It might not be the most talented but you're going to have to work to beat them. I think if there's a brand of Syracuse football that's what it is.