The following job posting was recently spotted in the classified ads section of the Syracuse Post-Standard:
Wanted: Head football coach, BCS-conference school. Seeking enthusiastic candidates who welcome the challenge of rebuilding a program that has won three Big East games over the past four seasons. Must exhibit a fondness for domed stadiums and cold, dreary weather. Benefits include an apathetic fan base, average facilities and divisive athletic director.
On the heels of Greg Robinson's long-expected firing Sunday, the question isn't, "Who will Syracuse hire to replace him?" It's "Who would be dumb and/or sadistic enough to take that job?"
It took less than 24 hours for the school's reported top candidate, Connecticut's Randy Edsall, to give his alma mater the Heisman. Once upon a time, a coach at UConn would have come running to Syracuse, but in 2008, Edsall -- who makes a reported $1.3 million, works in brand-new offices and a four-year-old stadium and will soon make his third bowl appearance in five years -- has a better job where he's at.
It's also been speculated for some time that Syracuse might target Buffalo coach Turner Gill, a logical premise seeing as Gill is already in the state and has been nothing short of miracle-worker in taking one of the nation's worst programs to the brink of a possible division title. (Buffalo is currently 6-4, 4-2 in the MAC.) It's entirely possible Gill would be eager to jump from the MAC to the Big East. But here's the thing: Gill can do better. Much better.
Syracuse's best hope of landing a coach capable of restoring the once-proud Orange to their proper glory -- or at least the right side of .500 -- is to find an energetic, ambitious assistant both itching to become a head coach and dynamic enough to sell blue-chippers on a program that, quite frankly, doesn't have much to offer right now. That person most certainly needs to have his fingers on the pulse of the Northeast recruiting scene.
The New York Times posted a list of potential candidates Sunday night, and two names immediately jumped to mind: Mike Locksley and Steve Addazio.
Locksley, 39, a Washington, D.C., native, is Illinois' offensive coordinator and the driving force behind Ron Zook's recruiting success both there and at Florida. He lured star receiver Arrelious Benn (a D.C. native) to Champaign and landed several key members of Florida's 2006 national title team.
Addazio, 49, Urban Meyer's offensive line coach at Florida, was a Syracuse assistant during the Donovan McNabb era (1995-98). Last month, former Orange star Rob Konrad penned a letter on behalf of several former teammates urging AD Daryl Gross to consider Addazio, whose pipeline into the New Jersey talent scene would be invaluable at Syracuse.
Of course, that brings us back to the original question. While the Syracuse head coaching job would garner a huge pay raise, is the assistant head coach position at Florida is arguably a better (and safer) job? I think so. If I'm Gross, I'm making that call to Locksley.