For a few generations of Syracuse Orange fans, there was a status quo when it came to the three most important positions in Syracuse Athletics.
Jake Crouthamel held the title of Athletic Director from 1978 to 2005.
Jim Boeheim has been the head basketball coach since 1976.
Between 1981 and 2004, Syracuse had two head football coaches, Dick MacPherson and Paul Pasqualoni.
So basically from the beginning of the 80's through the mid-aughts, Syracuse fans had a pretty reliable trio of personnel that they could count on to be there, even if they didn't like them in the moment. There's a durability and a safety in that.
Then in 2004, DOCTOR Gross became the new AD and hired three different football coaches in his ten years. Last year he left the post and Mark Coyle entered, hiring a new football coach of his own.
Now, that AD role is changing once more and SU fans find themselves experiencing that uncomfortable feeling of not know who they can count on. We now await news of who our third athletic director in two years will be and whether or not that person will leave a year from now as well. We're also headed into our first season with Dino Babers, who follows three football coaches each of whom didn't stick around for more than four years. And we're on the cusp of Jim Boeheim's retirement.
It's all a little disorientating. It also makes one wonder if there's a new truth for Syracuse Athletics in the modern world of college athletics.
Are we destined to be a stopover destination for the foreseeable future?
We've been spoiled by Jim Boeheim, tucked away in our Central New York bubble where perhaps we've held on to old school ideas of loyalty more than other schools.
I don't know about you but I have serious concerns about how long Babers will stay at SU, for one reason or another. If he does well and turns the Orange around, I fully expect a Big 12 or Big Ten school to come calling with a more attractive offer and whisk him away. Maybe that's not how it'll go but it's my expectation based on everything that's happened in the last decade.
Maybe Doug Marrone is to be blamed for all of this. He was the first guy to actively leave Syracuse on his own terms before expected since Coach Mac and it was jarring. This was his "dream job," after all. If that still wasn't enough for a coach to want to stay here seven, eight, nine years...what would be?
Or maybe that's the point. The Boeheims are going away. Just like the athletes who come to Syracuse looking for inroads to the pros and better opportunities, that's how we should expect our coaches and administrators to act as well. The days of expecting someone to put down roots are over because there's always a bigger challenge and bigger paycheck to be had elsewhere.
How do we prove that Syracuse truly is a destination and not a resume bullet point? When someone actually does it. It's that simple, really. If Dino Babers succeeds and stays here through 2026, we'll know. If the new AD sticks around for a decade, we'll know.
But until then, the writing's on the wall.