Monday morning comes and another head coach heads to the unemployment line just before Thanksgiving. Syracuse has fired head coach Scott Shafer. Shafer will coach Syracuse’s final game of the season this weekend against Boston College.
Shafer was promoted to head coach of the Orange after Syracuse lost head coach Doug Marrone to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 2013 (Marrone is currently an offensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars) after serving as defensive coordinator from 2009 through 2o12. Syracuse has struggled since Shafer became the head coach. Syracuse has gone 13-23 under Shafer and has had a losing season each of the past two years. After winning seven games with a Texas Bowl victory in 2013 in Syracuse’s first season in the ACC, Shafer’s Orange won three games in 2014 and is currently sitting on a 3-8 record with one game to play. Shafer’s contract was good for one more season.
Winning at Syracuse is a difficult task for any college football coach. The university is invested in improving facilities on campus, which may be long overdue from a football perspective. Syracuse continues to play football games in a decrepit Carrier Dome, and competing in the ACC Atlantic Division with Clemson and Florida State (and Louisville) is not easy. Where Syracuse goes from here should be interesting. Syracuse needs a coach that can build a program and embrace the amenities Syracuse has to offer. It is not one of the more attractive coaching jobs currently on the market, and is the third best of the three in the ACC alone. As with most power conference programs in need of a coach, there is always some potential to build something at Syracuse, but finding the right coach for the job is rarely easy.
the coaching change at Syracuse is the 14th to occur in this coaching carousel cycle, and the 10th from a power conference. Syracuse is the third ACC program to make a coaching change, joining Miami and Virginia Tech. Miami let go of Al Golden in late October. Virginia Tech’s Frank Beamer announced his retirement in early November.