Now that the Syracuse Orange need a new athletic director...again...we need to think about what this new person will have to focus on. I think we can mostly agree that getting SU football back to a solid, consistent point is a major focus, not to mention getting more butts in seats in the meantime. It's the smartest and easiest path to financial stability.
But beyond that...what do we want the new AD to focus on? Do we want someone who keeps the overall program momentum going? Someone who focuses on women's sports? Someone who is all about making Syracuse a national power?
I think one of the things I would like the new AD to address first is the scheduling issue for football. Second would be to keep the momentum going for Olympic sports and women's athletics, making sure that the money goes where it should and not where it's most convenient. We've had such a great year all around, and wouldn't it be nice to continue this happy feeling for years to come? Third on my top three would be to establish a good rapport with the student body and local fanbase that then expands to every other corner of "Orange Nation". I really like the idea bouncing around the Nunes community to branch out of the Upstate/CNY area for the "No Huddle" tour, if it's successful, and use other coaches to do so.
The #1 goal for the new AD should be to make sure they sign Chris Fox to a lifetime deal.....and I'm half-kidding there, but after that I think the biggest issue will be navigating the Dome renovations and the challenges that will bring for a number of sports, as well as potential revenue from games and donations. I expect we'll hear early next week what the renovations will entail, as well as a timeline, so the new AD is going to have that project facing them from the start of their tenure.
This is going to sound vague, but I'm going to say consistency. Syracuse had one of its most successful years in athletics in recent memory, and the new AD needs to focus on building upon that success and making it consistent among multiple programs. The new AD won't have to do as much to continue the success of our historically dominant programs but keeping the kind of "up and coming" programs that have recently had historic seasons like cross country and soccer and women's basketball going will take work. If we keep some of those non-revenue sports successful, it'll improve the image of the university. Hopefully, that makes Syracuse more of a destination school for an athletic director.. An AD that sticks around at a school with good overall athletics can help keep a football coach around too. And consistently good programs overall, even non-revenue programs, contribute financially in other ways like merchandise sales, uniform deals, and even student enrollment. This is obviously way easier said than done, and is a multitude of factors like hiring good coaches/keeping good ones around, recruiting, facilities, revenue, and more, but I think it's a good overall goal for an AD to have.
I know that the success of the women's programs and Olympic sports teams isn't what sets the world on fire for a lot of Orange fans but I do think trying to maintain the overall success rate that we saw this season across all of SU Athletics should be a high priority. Having a healthy athletic department has far-reaching effects from national reputation to enrollment to a general rising of all boats across all programs. This year we're able to look around and see Syracuse Athletics mentioned in the same sentences as Stanford and Virginia, amongst others. The value in those kinds of attributions might not be felt in the here and now but they'll pay big dividends down the road.
How about you? What do you think the new AD needs to focus on?