Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers has hired Edinboro (Pa., D-II) College head coach Justin Lustig as Syracuse’s running backs coach/special teams coordinator, a source close to Lustig confirmed to TNIAAM on Thursday.
Football Scoop first reported the news of Lustig’s hire.
Lustig will replace Mike Hart as runnings back coach, who left after one season to take the same position at Indiana. Lustig will also take over special teams duties from Tom Kaufman, who worked under Babers in each of his five seasons as a head coach before leaving earlier this month to accept a defensive coordinator position at Tennessee-Chatanooga.
Lustig led the greatest one-year transformation in school history in his lone season at Edinboro, coaching the team to a 9-2 record after Edinboro finished 0-11 the year prior. Prior to his time at Edinboro, Lustig previously served as the running backs coach/special teams coordinator from 2011-2015 at Ball State.
Lustig will have his work cut out for him, as he takes over a team that finished the 2016 season ranked No. 115 in rushing yards per game (119.6) and No. 123 in yards per carry (3.2). While Syracuse fared better on special teams, the Orange will lose primary returner Brisly Estime to graduation.
While Lustig had success in his one season at Edinboro, hiring a D-II head coach was certainly not a move TNIAAM, or fans, had in mind when discussing potential running backs coach candidates to replace Hart.
Not only does Lustig not have any P-5 coaching experience, but he also doesn’t have a background coaching in talent-rich areas such as Florida, something that certainly would have (or should have) appealed to Babers in terms of recruiting.