Syracuse introduced its new athletic director, Mark Coyle, today at a press conference on campus. We've covered Mark's remarks and some general takeaways here on the site already, but TNIAAM also had the great opportunity to speak with the new Orange AD this afternoon.
Mark is the first Syracuse athletic director to enter a world where this site already exists (no pressure, though), and we appreciate him being a good sport and chatting with us for the first of (hopefully) many interactions during his tenure.
What were your thoughts about Syracuse prior to applying for the job?
I remember as a young kid watching Syracuse basketball on TV all the time. One of my closest friends is a big Syracuse fan and I told him our next one-on-one game is in the Carrier Dome! It's an honor and privilege to be associated with Orange athletics and the history of success they've had.
What elements of the Orange athletic program are you looking forward to diving into most?
I love working with student athletes, and am looking forward to helping and watching them succeed. I also looking forward to working with the staff here and the passionate people that work on this campus. I want to make sure we’re all working in the same direction to see Syracuse do well.
Do you feel like there are a lot of similarities between Boise State and Syracuse (other than color scheme), in terms of being the local "pro team" so to speak?
I think they’re similar. Boise State’s a very special place and has a strong following. Same thing for Syracuse. It's a very special place, and they have a strong brand, national and internationally. People know when they see that block 'S' logo that it's Syracuse.
I know it’s early, but what’s the biggest priority on your list once you get settled next month?
Selfishly, I want to make sure family -- my wife and kids -- are okay and adjusted to everything. From there, I’m just excited to have a chance to jump in with the student athletes and staff. During the interview process, they were interviewing me, but I was also interviewing Syracuse. People I talked to on campus and around the ACC and college athletics had nothing but great things to say about this program and the people that work here. I'm looking forward to getting to know them, and them getting to know me. I'm looking forward to working with everyone here to make Syracuse a broad-based, competitive program.
What challenges do you see ahead of you, specifically regarding the NCAA probation Syracuse is currently dealing with?
I see it as an area of opportunity. The coaches here have been here a long time, and have lots of success. An area of opportunity is that I can bring a new, outside perspective. How can I work with those staffs and coaches? It's great for me to be able to walk in and figure out how they got to where they are and how they can continue to move forward. •
Scheduling’s a big sticking point for fans and it sounds like you get that. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Syracuse football has scheduled itself into a hole for a decade now.
I haven’t had the chance to see their future schedules yet, admittedly. But in any sport -- football, basketball, lacrosse -- scheduling’s a big part of what you’re trying to do. Need to schedule in a way that when you get through your conference schedule, so that if you have a position to compete in the new College Football Playoff and play in those special bowl games.
Which game are you most looking forward to attending during the 2015-16 season?
I’m going to all events – whether it’s football or women’s soccer, I'll be at all of them. My kids have probably set a record for number of attended events while we were at Boise. We're excited to see our student-athletes compete, no matter the sport. We’ll be there.
So, you hate Georgetown already, right?
We’re already big time Syracuse fans. Go Orange!
Really appreciate Mark taking a few minutes to chat with us, as it shows an ability to connect with fans right off the bat. Hopefully by this time next year, the answer to that last question will be "F^&k Georgetown." But for now, the above was an acceptable response. Also, one #BRAND mention above... but hey, can't be perfect, right?