Syracuse to hire Scott Shafer as next head coach, according to report

Shafer, 46, has been Syracuse's defensive coordinator for the last four seasons

/ The Daily Orange

Scott Shafer, pictured here in 2011, has been defensive coordinator of Syracuse for the past four seasons. A report by CBS Sports Monday said he will be named the next Syracuse head coach.

Syracuse will name Scott Shafer as its next head coach, Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports reported late Monday.

Shafer is being promoted from defensive coordinator to replace Doug Marrone, who was officially introduced as the head coach of the Buffalo Bills on Monday. Shafer has been with Syracuse for four seasons, and in 2010, transformed the Orange’s defense to become the seventh in the nation in total defense.

In 2008, the year before Shafer arrived at Syracuse, the Orange’s defense was 101st in the nation in total defense with 4,974 yards allowed per game. Then, in Shafer’s first season in 2009, the Orange finished 37th in the nation, and the next season finished seventh.

SU’s 2010 unit was also 17th in the country in points allowed per game at 19.31, and was seventh in passing yards allowed with 165.31 per game.

After a down year in 2011 that saw Syracuse allow more than 28 points per game, Shafer brought the unit back to a respectable level in 2012.

Syracuse’s defense finished this past season tied for fourth in the nation in tackles for loss with an average of eight per game.

Throughout the season, Syracuse shut down high-caliber quarterbacks including Southern California’s Matt Barkley, Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater and in the Pinstripe Bowl against West Virginia, potential first-round pick Geno Smith.

The Mountaineers, who featured an explosive offense that averaged over 39 points per game, managed to score 14 points against Shafer’s defense.

Shafer has been a defensive coach for 22 years, including a season as the defensive coordinator at Michigan in 2008, and one in the same role for Stanford in 2007. He also spent time on the coaching staffs at Western Michigan, Illinois, Northern Illinois, Rhode Island and Indiana.

He was one of Marrone’s first hires upon Marrone being named head coach for Syracuse.

Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross said on ESPN CNY radio Monday that he wanted to move quickly in finding a new head coach, and stressed the importance of finding stability with the program. He said he also wanted to find someone who could keep the Orange’s momentum moving forward.

“You’ve got to look at ‘How do we keep the momentum we’ve created?’ That’s what our focus is. And we’re going to do what the right thing is to keep that going,” Gross said. “We’ve got great momentum, we’re getting ready to go to the ACC. We want to make sure everything is stable. We’ve created a culture that’s a winning culture and that’s what we want to enhance.”

Gross didn’t have to go to far to find his new head coach.

Shafer’s son, Wolfgang, tweeted about his father’s promotion Monday.



Shafer’s promotion brings stability to the program as it heads into the Atlantic Coast Conference. It will also help keep the Orange’s recruits committed to Syracuse with the national signing day less than a month away.

ESPN’s Brett McMurphy also tweeted Monday that in addition to Shafer becoming head coach, offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett will remain at Syracuse.

Shafer’s hiring has not yet been announced by Syracuse.


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