I don’t wanna be an old man anymore
It’s been a year or two since I was out on the floor
Shakin’ booty, makin’ sweet love all the night
It’s time I got back to the good life
It’s time I got back, it’s time I got back
and I don’t even know how I got off the track
I wanna go back, yeah!
“The Good Life” -Weezer
The Greg Robinson Era
In 2004 the Syracuse football program seemed to be spinning the tires. The team was perpetually stuck in mediocrity, repeatedly failing to get back to the glory of the mid-late nineties. Our coach was being blasted by the fans and media alike for turning our once proud program into a middle-of-the-pack team. We got a share of the Big East title, but it did little to assure us we would be back to our glory days.
Then something else arrived: hope. We got a new AD who was billed as a savior of USC. He acted quick, dismissing the old coach and bringing in a new guy. His guy. We were all fooled.
When Greg Robinson was hired our fans (myself included) knew it was time for a change. And we all thought this would be the coach to bring us back to respectability, if not to the top of the Big East. He had won Super Bowls, been a successful coordinator at Texas, and seemed to have the enthusiasm and knowledge to bring the Orange back from the depths. But all he did was sink.
By all accounts Greg Robinson is a great guy. I have never met him, but know two people who worked with him, both of whom say what a great guy he is. His players never quit on him. He ran a program that graduated its players and had limited discipline problems (compared to other schools both in our conference and across the country).
But the bottom line was that he couldn’t win football games. And wins are the all that matter in college athletics. Nobody buys a t-shirt of their favorite team to celebrate having a good team GPA. People don’t buy tickets to see a team that hasn’t had any players charged with a felony. They only do those things to see winning programs. And Syracuse under Robinson was far worse than Syracuse during Pasquiloni’s last few seasons.
Daryl Gross has a do-over now and needs to get THIS hire right. We can’t spend another four seasons finding out that our guy can’t win. We need someone who can win. Sure there might be an adjustment period, but how long are we willing to wait? If we spend two years racking up double digit losses while the new coach restocks the cupboard how many fans will be left? I don’t know how long I can wait, and I never thought I would say that.
I went to college at UMass, home of a once prominent basketball program. When I got to school, the Minutemen had slipped to previously unthinkable lows under Steve Lappas. Before my senior year he was fired, to be replaced by Travis Ford, an up-and-comer with a great pedigree. In his three years at the helm he was able to bring UMass back to respectability before moving onto greener pastures. The point is I wouldn’t trade those three years for anything. He stabilized and rebuilt a program. If Syracuse finds such a coach, a here for three years then onto bigger and better, that is fine by me. As long as in those years the program gets headed back in the right direction.
For now Syracuse fans can rejoice in the fact that it is over. Then we have to wonder when we’ll get back on track.