When Syracuse Orange athletics director Mark Coyle arrived on campus last year, he just seemed to "get it." The gig he was inheriting from DOCTOR Gross had increased its stature from a national standpoint, perhaps. But on a local level, fans were feeling awful disconnected from the university and its marketing efforts. Coyle's been seeking to change that dynamic.
"I didn't know we had advertising in Yankee Stadium or on cabs or any of that. But I want to make sure about what we're doing right here. Because your core is right here. The Carrier Dome can be an incredible home-field advantage. And my goal is to do everything I can do to get the place rocking on game days because that creates a great experience for our student-athletes and our fans.
"Obviously, New York City is a huge market, an important market, for Syracuse for a lot of reasons. But I want to just focus on here now. I need to talk with the chancellor and see what his vision is for the university. But I'll get my arms around it."
And now, just one summer later, he's ready to deliver on that desire to reconnect with locals. And he's bringing some friends along with him.
Just announced this morning, Syracuse athletics will be embarking on a "No Huddle Tour" from May through August, stopping in nearby cities (and Orange fan hotbeds) like Buffalo, Rochester, Binghamton and of course, Syracuse. Noticeably absent: New York City, among other places decidedly more downstate too. But most noticeably, the City.
The tour obviously gets its name from Dino Babers's fast-paced offensive attack which he'll be bringing to Orange football this year. And of course, Babers will be along for the ride on this one to get local fans (and donors/ticket holders) excited.
On Tuesday, May 17, Babers and Coyle will be at Chefs Restaurant in Buffalo at noon, hosted by the Syracuse Alumni Club of Western New York. Tickets are already available for those who'd like to attend that event. That evening, they'll be joined by Jim Boeheim as well. The trio will be guests at the Syracuse University Rochester Alumni Club Annual Awards Banquet at the Monroe Golf Club at 5 p.m.Tickets are also available for that.
The following night, May 18, Babers and Boeheim will be at the Binghamton Mets game for a meet-and-greet with fans before the Mets' game against the Altoona Curve. That event will start at 5:30 p.m. and run until shortly before both coaches throw out the first pitch for the 6:35 p.m. matchup.
After a two-month break, the tour reconvenes in Syracuse for Orange Fan Fest on Saturday, August 13. Festivities kick off at the Syracuse Soccer Stadium wen the men's soccer team takes on New Hampshire in a scrimmage. The football team will take the field afterward for their own intra-squad scrimmage, along with plenty of other fan activities (like inflatable jumpies... duh).
The final stop on the tour is also in Syracuse for a Chiefs game on August 27. No details there, but you can probably assume some sort of meet-and-greet plus first pitch situation similar to the Binghamton Mets setup.
Sure, most of this is really just PR and handshaking, but it's actually a pretty smart bit of those two things. One-year Central New York resident Coyle already gets what this athletic program needs if it's going to continue to succeed, and that's fan support. The football team has been devoid of it in recent seasons, and he's taking it upon himself to use some decidedly "dead" time in the Orange sports calendar to drum up excitement. Hopefully some of the staff and/or may of you can attend a few of these and let us know how they go? Chances are nearby SU supporters, long stymied by the old administration in favor of NYC, will jump at the chance to be re-embraced by Orange athletics.