Syracuse Athletics announced that Syracuse Orange football coach Scott Shafer had been fired this morning. Was this the right time to make the call or should SU have waited until after the Boston College game? And now that we're back in the coaching candidate hunt, what kind of coach should we be looking for? We put these questions to the TNIAAM crew and here's what they said:
Do you feel as though firing Scott Shafer at this time is the right move?
John Cassillo: Yes, absolutely. I would've understood waiting before. But after Saturday's debacle and then post-game outburst, it was clearly a relationship that needed to end on both sides. Shafer had lost portions of this team, a good deal of the fan base and nearly all of the media. It was time to go.
Dan Lyons: Yeah. I was rooting for Shafer to succeed this year, but every game, to me, it became more clear that he wasn't cut out to coach in the ACC. Really nice guy, very good defensive coordinator, and easy to root for, but his head coaching decisions were consistently poor, and losing his cool down the stretch in a second straight game probably sealed things.
Andy Pregler: Yes. Brain went into why a lame duck coach is just not a good idea and I don't think anything Shafer has done this year warranted a three more years after this one. Coye is a smart guy who has been around a winning football program. His tenure is directly tied to a smooth transition from Boeheim to Hopkins and football being somewhat relevant again. Shafer had to go so this plan can really get off the ground.
Brandon Ross: I can honestly I was indifferent towards the firing at first. However, the more that I think about it, the more I see that Shafer's dismissal shows thatCoyle is confident he can get a replacement that would be an upgrade. He has good ties around CFB so we'll see what he can come up with.
Steve Haller: At this juncture, it was the right time to cut ties. If Shafer was going to be gone regardless, he is able to go out with a game on his terms, without Coyle having the pressure of this result jading the decision. Coyle knows what he wants to do and this puts him in the drivers seat as far as selecting his candidate and not having a lame duck coach for a year, or being forced into extending and then severing early like Brian mentioned. The best part is we can get the hiring done relatively early, and someone in place with an offseason to prepare, unlike the last few times.
Sean Keeley: Unfortunately, I think it was probably the right time to do it if you're gonna do it. Syracuse is behind the eight-ball in terms of relevance compared to the many, many other programs looking for a coach. It needs to put itself out there ASAP and let candidates know it's an option and it's an option where you can really build something from the ground up.
What should SU's strategy be for the next coach? An up & coming assistant? A head coach with experience?
JC: I'd like to see an established head coach at a G5 school (AAC, MAC, C-USA). Maybe before a coordinator made more sense -- and for a coordinator with some head coaching experience, maybe it still does. But Syracuse needs to turn things around quickly and stay competitive with the market when it comes to hiring. You're not spending $3M on a rising assistant. That's what it's going to take to get back into the game with regard to football.
DL: An experienced head coach is almost always preferable, but with so many opening this year, I think I'd rather see a high-upside coordinator which experience running an exciting offense than a retread head coach that failed elsewhere. The early named that are popping up with Mark Coyle connections, Scott Frost and Mike Sanford, seem to jive with that. In looking at recent hires, there is no universal answer though, so we have to trust Coyle to bring in the right guy.
AP: Honestly, you have to get someone smart. Shafer is a great, old school player's coach. But Syracuse isn't in a position to win by "out-toughing" our opponents. There just simply isn't the talent. The next coach is going to have to look long and hard at past successes here (coaching up lesser recruits, playing in a Dome) and find a system and staff that can both replicate these successes and adapt on the fly once factors change. That probably means an up and coming assistant at a winning program.
BR: If Syracuse goes for a head coach, they won't be able to lure one that is considerted top of the line (unless by some miracle they get Bo Pelini from Youngstown St.). I feel the best way to go is to get an up and coming assistant coach like Mike Sanford or Scott Frost.
SH: I would say either works, but they will need to get a system guy. Syracuse at this point can't recruit the athletes to just go out there and beat someone by lining up and out-hustling them. Up and coming coordinator seems to be the best of the options, with a staff that has solid successful recruiting ties.
SK: The last three hires have been career assistants taking on their first head-coaching gig. Two of them didn't do well and the third took a while to really figure things out. I think it would be nice to have someone with head coaching experience who can jump right in where they left off, ideally at a lower-level FBS program. That's probably a best-case scenario for SU right now.