Depending on how you see the world, the significance of Don McPherson's name is either coincidental or preordained.
Setting aside Syracuse Orange fans, many college football fans see the Syracuse Football program's run in the 80's and 90's through the prism of two people, neither of whom are Don McPherson but both of whom share a part of his name.
The 80's belonged to Dick "Coach Mac" MacPherson, the man responsible for resurrecting Syracuse football and turning a hey-remember-when program into a nationally-ranked power. The apex of Coach Mac's tenure was 1987, when senior quarterback Don McPherson led his Orangemen to an unbeaten (though once-tied) 10-0-1 record. It's no hyperbole to say it's the second-best season in the history of Syracuse football and McPherson was the shining star that willed it to happen. The end of the West Virginia game that year is still the stuff of legends:
After he was gone, McPherson ushered in the Golden Era of Syracuse Quarterbacks. Next was Marvin Graves. And then, the next Don. Donovan McNabb. We can argue over which was the "better" quarterback but there's no arguing that McNabb's on-field presence and aura commanded something more than McPherson ever did. McNabb also completed the circle of that quarterback triumvirate, capping it with a four-year career that will likely not be duplicated at Syracuse (for various reasons).
Don McPherson gets his jersey retired in the Carrier Dome this weekend during halftime of the Clemson Tigers game. He will be cheered and feted by Syracuse fans, no doubt. And he deserves every bit of it. If not for The Biggest P**** That Ever Lived, he might have a few more accolades that national fans would admire. Even without, his record speaks for itself (on and off the field).
He might not be the first Syracuse person you think of from the 80's and he might not be the first Syracuse quarterback named Don you think of, but Don McPherson's place in the SU Football pantheon cannot be understated. He's an all-time great. Glad he's getting yet another honor that he deserves.