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OFFICIAL: Dino Babers fired as Syracuse football head coach

A genuinely shocking move from Syracuse Athletics.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Georgia Tech Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

In a stunning turn of events, the Syracuse Orange have moved on from 8th-year head coach Dino Babers.

ESPN’s Pete Thamel first reported this morning Dino would be let go with one game left in the regular season. Sonn after, he reported the decision was official.

Thamel also reported current tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile will serve as interim head coach, meaning that Babers will not get a “farewell game” similar to Scott Shafer in 2015. Campanile previously served as the interim for Rutgers in 2019 after Chris Ash was fired four games into the season.

Both moves have since been confirmed by John Wildhack, who gave this statement in a press release:

“I appreciate everything Dino, his wife Susan, and their family have done over the last eight years for Syracuse Athletics, Syracuse University and most importantly, our student-athletes. Thanks to Dino’s leadership, our student-athletes have performed at the highest levels in the classroom, have dedicated countless hours to supporting our communities and have gone on to achieve great success, both professionally and personally. As we embark on a change in leadership at the helm of Syracuse Football, on behalf of Syracuse University I thank Coach Babers for his leadership, character and dedication, and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

This is another abrupt announcement of Syracuse dismissing a head coach, following Jim Boeheim’s release right after the opening round of the 2023 ACC Tournament.

That’s not to say the decision isn’t warranted. Babers has struggled mightily in conference play during his time in Syracuse, compiling a 20-45 record against ACC opponents. He’s had just two years with .500 or better conference records: 2018 (6-2) and 2022 (4-4).

Dino’s late season collapses, which resulted in a 7-22 November record, have also been the bane of many ‘Cuse fans’ existence. The last three seasons have featured a three-game skid to end the year and miss postseason play, a five-game skid that killed the momentum of a 6-0 start, and now losing six of seven conference games, many in blowout fashion.

Still, Babers did make some improvements over his tenure, getting SU out of perpetual three/four-win seasons and at least competing for bowl appearances. They can still make back-to-back bowls for the first time since 2012 & 2013 - even under the asterisk of an interim coach. I hate to use this cliche, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Now Syracuse can start its search for the next man to lead the program, and possibly get a head start over some other programs with their own vacancies to fill. It was always a case of “extend or fire” Babers this offseason anyway, so at least there is now some clarity as to what the direction of the program is.