Coach expected to return for 14th season
Syracuse athletic director Jake Crouthamel has decided not to fire coach Paul Pasqualoni, contingent upon Pasqualoni making some staff changes, a source close to the program said Thursday.
The university has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. ET Friday. Crouthamel also will outline the need for an improved weight room and an indoor football practice facility, according to Paul Norcross, the university's executive director of development for athletics.
An administrative assistant in Crouthamel's office said that the athletic director would not comment until Friday.
The Orangemen went 6-6 this season, an improvement upon their 4-8 record of 2002 but still a disappointment. After getting to 5-3, Syracuse lost three consecutive games, the last a 24-7 defeat at Rutgers on Nov. 29 that disheartened Orange fans. The 38-12 season-ending victory over Notre Dame provided some consolation.
The program's biggest problems over the last two seasons have been on offense. Syracuse showed balance this season (189.4 rushing yards per game, 180.3 passing), but not consistency. The Orangemen gained more than 400 yards in eight games, and fewer than 200 in the other four.
However, offensive coordinator George DeLeone is a close friend of Pasqualoni, so whether -- or how -- the changes affect DeLeone will be of interest.
Pasqualoni, in 13 seasons at Syracuse, is 101-53-1 (.655). Before Larry Coker joined him this season, Pasqualoni had been the only Big East coach to win three consecutive league championships (1996-98).
Crouthamel has been a staunch supporter of Pasqualoni and has said he is loath to make a change because chancellor Buzz Shaw is retiring next year. However, he's equally concerned about erosion of his fan base.
Ivan Maisel is a senior writer at ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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