Doug Marrone remembers how Coach Dick MacPherson shaped his life

Dick MacPherson (bottom left) looks on as Doug Marrone is introduced as Syracuse Football's head coach in December of 2008 (file photo)

Even down in sunny Florida, former Syracuse football player (1983-1986) and coach (2009-2012) Doug Marrone, now the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, remembers the man who made it all click for him.

Marrone, an offensive lineman, was part of Dick MacPherson’s first recruiting class during “Coach Mac’s” nine year stint with Syracuse from 1981 to 1990.

It was through his interactions with MacPherson that Marrone said he didn’t understand the things Coach Mac asked of Marrone and his fellow teammates during his time at SU.

“I just trusted him,” said Marrone.

But it was after Marrone had left Central New York for the Miami Dolphins in 1987 that he realized coach had been preparing him for life rather than football.

“When I left college, I called him a year later, and said ‘I just want to apologize for some of the things, the way I behaved. I understand now.’ And he said, ‘Who’s this now?”

MacPherson’s humor and love for his players, coaches and community has Marrone at a loss for words after MacPherson’s passing on Tuesday at age 87.

“Words can never put to justice what coach Mac was not only just to me but to my teammates.”

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