66-46-4. Doesn't sound all that great. A .586 winning percentage. On paper you look at that coaching record and you think to yourself, "Eh...good but nothing special." But they don't coach college football games on paper. They coach them on sidelines. Of football fields.
But that 66-46-4 might have been the most important football coaching tenure in Syracuse history. Without it, and the coach who earned it, Syracuse might never have regained its way as a credible and relevant football program. If that 66-46-4 doesn't happen, maybe Syracuse has a Rutgers or Temple-esque run through the 80's and 90's and is considered an afterthought in recent history.
That's the way to think about the 66-46-4. And that's the way to think about Coach Dick MacPherson, the man who earned it. Coach Mac will finally be honored by the College Football Hall of Fame tonight when he's inducted.
The last five seasons of his time at SU are the ones we're really concerned with. That's when he went 36-10-3 and led the Orange to two 10-win seasons, including an unbeaten 11-0-1. However you need to commend the 30-36-1 record from Mac's first five seasons at SU as well, because the 2nd half of his tenure doesn't happen if he doesn't do the hard work in the first half.
Mac was feted last night by about 100 members of the Syracuse University family, including Tim Green, Don McPherson, Daryl Johnston, Marcus Paul, Scott Schwedes, Doug Marrone and, yes, DOCTOR Daryl Gross. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel sent a pre-recorded message that was pretty insightful...
"I am not sure I have ever seen anyone more meticulous, who covered every possible scenario you could cover, and really cared about those kids," Tressel said. "It was a blessing for me because when I went to Youngstown State and started from scratch, and then again here at Ohio State and started from scratch, it was his blueprint that I followed."
Former SU quarterback Todd Norley was also on hand and summed up Coach Mac perfectly:
"I’m not looking for extraordinary men doing ordinary deeds. I’m looking for ordinary men doing extraordinary deeds," Norley said. "That’s what he had. He had a handful of extraordinary players. He had a bunch or ordinary guys who overachieved."
Something to think about when people say Syracuse can't win because it doesn't attract top talent...
The ceremony is tonight at the Waldorf-Astoria.