44 year old Doug Marrone shared what was truly in his heart this afternoon when he said, "this is the greatest day of my life." The new Syracuse football coach quickly qualified the statement by saying his wedding day and the birth of his children should out rank getting his dream job, but in all honesty I think he really meant what he said the first time - THIS is the greatest day of his life.
Doug grinded it out on the offensive line during the days of the brand new Carrier Dome in the early 1980's. He suffered through the challenging years with Coach Dick MacPherson. He played on the same squad as All-American Tim Green. They were all part of a group that began rebuilding Syracuse football after more than a decade in the dumps under former Coach Frank Maloney in a decaying Archbold Stadium.
25 years later Coach Mac, Tim and Doug all were back on the Hill sitting up front as Athletic Director Daryl Gross introduced the new coach. Coach Mac and Tim were part of the committee that guided the decision ultimately made by Gross. There also were members of the Board of Trustees and former Orange greats Art Monk and Floyd Little. This group received a lot of credit this afternoon for bringing Marrone to the table. Vetting his candidacy and ultimately stressing the importance of having a coach who bleeds orange and is connected to recruiting the North East.
Tim Green explained his long standing friendship with Marrone. Tim said it was Marrone, Todd Norley and Scott Congel who were among his closest friends when he came to Syracuse and played for the Orangemen in the fall of 1982. Coach Mac later revealed the role developer Scott Congel played in bringing Marrone here. Scott went and got him on a private jet last Sunday to bring him to town for an interview. Marrone arrived with a written plan for success in recruiting and on the field. He won over Gross and the others with his interview, his history of preparation and his deep desire to take this job and rejuvenate this program.
Gross deserves credit for the approach he took with this hire. Four years ago Chancellor Nancy Cantor was newly on campus. Daryl Gross was fresh into town from USC. He hired Greg Robinson who instantly manufactured Orange spirit. That decision seemed to be made by outsiders imposing their will on the local community and campus. This decision feels more like it bubbled up from the roots of the program. Gross did not pull the trigger based on the celebrity status of the candidate, but rather the candidate's passion and ability to succeed specifically here in Syracuse.
Marrone might not have been the first choice on a different major college campus, but right here he seems the ideal fit. He has already stressed he wants to hire coaches with a Syracuse background or at least Northeastern ties. He has already returned smiles to the faces of players who seemed unfairly dour all season long. He has already called this his dream job, a place and position he has envisioned since he first started coaching at Cortland State sixteen years ago.
Similar to the unassuming Paul Pasqualoni who took the reins when Coach Mac left town Marrone takes over as a name not familiar. A little success will quickly change that. A taste of success is all this program needs to reassume its position as the Beast of the East.
You can always read the blog on CNYcentral.com.
Any questions or comment please forward them to mattsmemo@CNYcentral.com. I may even use some of your thoughts on Action News at 10:00 on CW6 or on CNYcentral.com.
The opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of the author and are not reflective of the views or opinions of Barrington Broadcasting, WSTM-NBC3, its management or employees.