Football

In email to Syracuse players, Marrone thanks team, says he will always support SU

Andrew Renneisen | Staff Photographer

Doug Marrone led Syracuse to its second Pinstripe Bowl victory in three years in his final game as SU head coach.

Within minutes of Doug Marrone’s introduction as the next head coach of the Buffalo Bills, Syracuse football players received a mass email from Marrone explaining his reasoning for accepting the new position and expressing his love and support for the players he is leaving behind at his alma mater.

The message, which was obtained by The Daily Orange on Tuesday from a player on the current roster, was written by Marrone and sent on his behalf by SU Director of Football Operations Kevin Van Derzee at 12:05 p.m. Monday. Marrone’s press conference in Buffalo began around noon.

It was sent to all current members of the football team as well as graduating seniors.

“To My Players,” the email begins, “I am very sorry that I haven’t had an opportunity to speak to you in person regarding my move to the Buffalo Bills. It happened very quickly when I was not in Syracuse, and when most of you were not in Syracuse. I will explain everything in depth when I meet with you in-person this weekend.”

Marrone continues his four-paragraph message by reiterating that getting an opportunity to be the head coach at Syracuse four years ago was truly his dream job. He harkens back to his days as a student at SU, saying his life had changed by the time he left the campus in 1985.

“I dreamed about returning one day as the head football coach,” Marrone wrote. “I was finally given the opportunity, and it has been the most DIFFICULT and the most REWARDING professional experience of my life. I have learned so much from each of you. I do not have the words to express the satisfaction and the joy that coaching you has given me.”

He goes on to explain that leaving Syracuse for another coaching position at the collegiate level is something he never considered, saying instead that he accepted an offer from the Buffalo Bills because the challenge of that opportunity excited him.

He then reflects at his time coaching at Syracuse, a four-year stretch in which he posted a 25-25 overall record that included a pair of Pinstripe Bowl victories.

Sophomore defensive tackle Eric Crume said he is proud of Marrone for landing an NFL job and taking on the large opportunity. He called his time at Syracuse a “fun two years” playing under Marrone. Safety Shamarko Thomas, guard Rob Trudo and linebacker Cameron Lynch all voiced support for Marrone as well when contacted by The D.O.

“I know it’s such a busy time with him doing all the interviews and things like that,” Crume said. “To have some type of communication, I really appreciate it. I know he cares about us.”

Marrone writes in his email that he “felt good” about the progress the program has made in his time at the helm and that he feels he is “leaving the program in much better condition than I found it.”

“I will do everything in my power to ensure that your next head coach will continue on the path toward making Syracuse University a national football powerhouse,” Marrone wrote. “I will always support Syracuse University Football. I will always support each of you. If there is any way that I can help you with football and with your lives after football, reach out to me. Reach out to me even when you need nothing, I want to hear how my guys are doing.”

Wide receiver Marcus Sales, who will be traveling to Naples, Fla., Friday to begin workouts in preparation for the NFL Draft, said he appreciated the message and felt it was genuine.

“I thought he respected the players by sending out the email,” Sales said. “Most coaches leave their program without saying anything, so I thought it was from the heart, like he really cares about his players.”

Freshman linebacker James Washington said he understood Marrone’s decision to support his family in the best way possible and has no ill feelings toward the former head coach.

He wished Marrone the best of luck in Buffalo and added he hoped defensive coordinator Scott Shafer would be promoted to head coach in order to keep things in the family.

Shafer will be the next head coach, according to multiple reports.

Marrone closes with one final reflection, saying a dream he had as a 22-year-old kid has been fulfilled. He says that coaching the players at Syracuse has been a “privilege,” and he implores them to never quit working hard.

In his final press conference as Syracuse’s head coach, inside Yankee Stadium following the 38-14 win over West Virginia on Dec. 29, Marrone spoke about how close this team was — the closest he’s had in four years, he said. And true to form he expressed that closeness in the closing line of his closing message as the face of Syracuse football.

“My thoughts and my heart will be with you on every down of every game. Work hard every day. Never take a short-cut. Never quit.

Love,

Coach Marrone”

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