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Memorializing Coach MacPherson: Reactions from Syracuse and beyond

Coach Mac was one of a kind, as evidenced by the thoughts and stories that flooded out yesterday.

Wake Forest v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Yesterday’s news of Coach Dick MacPherson’s passing was a tough one for the Syracuse Orange community. The hall of famer was the architect of SU’s modern football success, a great ambassador for the university, and most of all, a wonderful person.

His ability to put that last part at the forefront is what made such a lasting impact on so many people. And it’s what spurred such a large outpouring of condolences and stories from all over the Syracuse community and reaches beyond.

Below’s just a sample of the acts of remembrance. RIP, Coach Mac.




Syracuse also put together this video tribute.

Also wanted to share a great story that appeared in the comments, from Hopkins48, whose recollection here really spoke to the quality of Dick MacPherson’s person:

The loftiest measure of Dick MacPherson's SU coaching legacy is the decade of success the program enjoyed under his successor, the former LB coach under MacPherson, Paul Pasqualoni.

The program’s string of significant bowl appearances, bowl record and national rankings prove that MacPherson built quite the solid foundation for continued success after his departure.

I had two occasions to meet Coach Mac, and though each occasion was brief, the impression he left was permanent.

When I was 15, I wrote the Orange Bowl Committee a letter to urge their selection of the undefeated Orange squad over Miami. And I sent a copy to Coach Mac with a note that I’d love him forever for what he had brought to the SU program.

While in HS, I had the opportunity to write a feature article on Rob Drummond for our HS paper after Rob had been drsfted by the Eagles.

Well, at the Newhouse scholastic awards ceremony, at the sports writing breakout workshop, Coach Mac and Rob Moore were at the front of the classroom before the workshop began.

I waved to both of them, gave a thumb’s up, and sat down. Coach Mac waved me up front. "Are you the kid who wrote about my good friend, Mr. Drummond?" Coach asked.


"Well, I am here and young Mr. Moore are here to thank you. Thank you for such a strong feature focusing on Rob’s personality. You had a reticent subject, but such a sweet guy to write about.”

"And you have no idea how much the two of us are grateful for your efforts."

"Coach?" I asked. "Thank me? I cried my little eyes out when our punter took a knee in the endzone at the buzzer against the Huskers. And I was out front of everyone onto the field over the banister, and ended up thrown by an o lineman into the arms of Tim Green."

"Thank me? This program’s come a long way since I sat in the endzone rooting for Joey. THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart!"

"Here", Coach said. "I have a letter here in my pocket. I’m gonna show it to Mr Moore. Here Rob, getta load of this. A couple years ago, this same kid wrote to the Orange Bowl on our behalf. And he feels compelled to thank me for anything I’ve done."

I just stood there with my jaw on the floor as Coach Mac pulled my letter out of his blazer pocket and handed it to Moore.

"I thought I recognized that name of the byline on the Drummond feature," he explained.

What a man. Goes out of his way to make others feel special and appreciated.


God love ya, Coach.