As you’re already well aware, the Syracuse Orange have already lost a coach this offseason in co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Sean Lewis, who was hired by Kent State. And while Lewis has hired a few former SU staffers to join him, those haven’t opened up any additional full-time roles for Dino Babers to fill.
However, there will be a second opening on staff starting next Tuesday. Back in 2016, the NCAA approved a 10th coaching hire -- a rule that goes into affect the day after the National Championship.
To little surprise, that role is likely to be focused heavily on recruiting for most programs.
That list of “most programs” probably includes Syracuse as well. Lewis was a big part of the recruiting process for the Orange over the past few cycles, and replacing him will be a tall order. Additionally, SU will have to figure out how they want to handle play-calling going forward. Do you hire a new coach to be Co-OC? Or give the full job to Mike Lynch and hire a dedicated QB coach AND a recruiting-focused assistant?
Assuming Syracuse is tethered by its usual financial constraints in terms of assistant hiring, we’re probably looking at smaller schools’ staffers to fill these roles. So who are some names we should keep an eye on?
Since we don’t know exactly how the Orange will replace Lewis, we’ll just assume that the program hires a quarterback coach of some sort. Additionally, the other position could fill any number of position-group roles, since titles can be shifted around for existing staffers that have multiple responsibilities.
Some candidates to look at:
- Kenny Dillingham, Memphis
- Steve Spurrier Jr., Western Kentucky
- Jim Zebrowski, Buffalo
- Travis Trickett, Georgia State
- Ron Whitcomb, Old Dominion
Normally, we’d look around some former Babers stops to fill these sorts of positions. But the coach’s most recent hires have all been from points beyond his own experience. So with that in mind, this short list pulls from some of the top Group of Five passing attacks in the country, for the most part.
Dillingham and Spurrier have plenty of recruiting experience too, and Zebrowski knows the region already being at Buffalo. Trickett calls plays with GSU right now, so it’s debatable if he’d come over without that responsibility. However, the Georgia experience he brings could be helpful in recruiting. Whitcomb has been at ODU for some time, but he’s from Rochester, which could be a draw for him as well.
- Asil Mulbah, Syracuse
- Gary Mason, Cincinnati
- Grant Murray, Buffalo
- Albert Boone, USF
- Eric Mathies, Florida Atlantic
Mulbah could be an easy choice if Babers chooses to stay inside the circle he’s already established at SU. But these other names also serve strategic purposes due to their current locations and experience. As mentioned above, it’s not required that someone is in a recruiting-only role right now, and we’d probably get more bang for our buck hiring one of the QB coach/recruiting specialist-types.
Being realistic on budget, however, it wouldn’t surprise to see a recruiting-specific hire like the names above, either. Florida experience is always a plus, and both Boone and Mathies have plenty of that.
This is just a short list, but far from an exhaustive evaluation of options for the Orange as the coaching carousel gets restarted next week. Any names you’d like to see addressed, keeping in mind that Babers has a system in place, and therefore is unlikely to hire a coordinator that wouldn’t fit it? Share your own thoughts below.