Shafer officially named as Syracuse’s next head coach; Spent last 4 seasons as defensive coordinator

/ The Daily Orange

Scott Shafer was officially announced as Syracuse's next head coach Wednesday. Shafer has been the Orange's defensive coordinator for four seasons.

Scott Shafer has been officially named Syracuse’s next head coach, SU Athletics announced in a press release Wednesday.

Shafer, who spent the last four season as the Orange’s defensive coordinator, replaces Doug Marrone, who left to be the head coach of the Buffalo Bills. Shafer’s promotion brings stability to the program as it heads to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.

“I look forward to representing the hard-nosed city of Syracuse and the great state of New York as the head coach of Syracuse University,” Shafer said. “We will go to work every day to put a quality product on the field as we storm our way into the Atlantic Coast Conference. We are very motivated to start preparing for the 2013 campaign with our current team and incoming student-athletes.”

Shafer will be introduced as head coach in a press conference Friday at 12:30 p.m.

Shafer came to Syracuse in 2009 after spending a season as Michigan’s defensive coordinator, and held the same role at Stanford in 2008.

In his first season with the Orange, Syracuse’s defense was 37th in the nation after having been 114th in 2008. The 2009 unit was also sixth in sacks, 28th in third-down defense.

In 2010, Shafer’s defense was one of the best in the country. The unit ranked as the seventh best in the nation, and helped lead Syracuse to a Pinstripe Bowl win over Kansas State.

After SU’s defense struggled last season, it returned to form in 2013. The Orange was sixth in the country in tackles for loss this past season, and allowed only 14 points to an explosive West Virginia offense in the Pinstripe Bowl.

Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross said in the press release Wednesday that Shafer is well-deserving of the chance to take over as the Orange’s head coach.

“Scott Shafer is an experienced, intelligent, motivating coach who has dedicated his life to coaching and developing college student-athletes,” Gross said in the statement. “I can’t think of a coach in America who is more deserving of having an opportunity to be a head coach. His commitment to developing the total student-athlete is unmatched. We have all seen the attitude of his defense which consists of unity, toughness and persistence.

Gross said in an interview on ESPN CNY radio Monday that he wanted to move quickly in finding a new head coach, and also said that Shafer and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett would receive strong consideration. Hackett is reportedly to join Marrone as the Bills’ offensive coordinator.

Gross was also adamant that he wanted to find a head coach who could continue the Orange’s momentum. Promoting Shafer helps do that.

Shafer will be faced with selecting both a new defensive and offensive coordinator, as he leaves the defensive spot open and Hackett is joining Marrone with Buffalo.

“I know and trust Coach Shafer will enhance the momentum that has been created in the program,” Gross said. “He is a brilliant coach, a tireless worker and a relentless recruiter who believes that we can create a sustainable championship culture. I am convinced Coach Shafer will successfully carry the torch of the Syracuse football legacy.”

Shafer has been a defensive coach for 22 years. Before coming to Syracuse, Shafer was the defensive coordinator at Michigan, and held the same role at Stanford in 2007. He also spent time on the coaching staffs at Western Michigan, Illinois, Northern Illinois, Rhode Island and Indiana.

In a statement, Marrone praised Shafer and SU’s move to hire him for the job.

“He is a person of high integrity who cares about the student-athletes and their development on and off the field,” Marrone said. “Scott has proven his expertise as a defensive coordinator and is ready to lead the program. I wish him all the best as the head coach of the Orange.”

At Stanford, Shafer worked under head coach Jim Harbaugh, now the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Shafer’s defense forced five turnovers in a monumental win for the Cardinal over Southern California during his one season.

“I am excited about the tremendous opportunity for Coach Shafer and Syracuse University,” Harbaugh said in a statement. Scott is hard working, enthusiastic and of high character. Great things will happen with Shafe. He and his family will continue the rich and great Syracuse tradition.”

Richard L. Thompson, chairman of the SU Board of Trustees, said in the press release that Shafer is the right coach to keep the Orange moving forward.

“As we continue to strengthen the program, his outstanding abilities, developed over 20 years of coaching, make him the right leader to build on Syracuse Football’s strong momentum in the years ahead,” Thompson said in the statement. “We congratulate Dr. Daryl Gross who undertook a swift, intensive search process that identified the right candidate – while ensuring stability, continuity, and quality in our football program.”


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