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Coach coming back for 15th year

12/6/2004 - Syracuse Orange

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor gave head
football coach Paul Pasqualoni a vote of confidence Monday night.

Cantor made the decision to retain Pasqualoni for a 15th year
after meeting with outgoing athletic director Jake Crouthamel to
assess the 2004 season. Syracuse finished 6-5 and will play Georgia
Tech in the Champs Sports Bowl on Dec. 21 in Orlando.

"I've accepted Jake's recommendation," Cantor said. "Paul
knows there's no guarantee, that he must have a plan for Syracuse
to restore its football signature. It's not easy for a coach to say
he knows there are no guarantees. I hope the community appreciates
that."

Pasqualoni is 107-58-1 in 14 seasons at Syracuse and 6-2 in bowl
games. But the Orange have struggled to break even the last three
years after going 10-3 and finishing 14th in the nation in 2001.

Syracuse was 4-8 in 2002 and 6-6 last year. Since star
quarterback Donovan McNabb left for the NFL after the 1998 season,
the Orange have played in the postseason only twice and lost
regular-season games to Big East weaklings Rutgers and Temple. That
prompted many fans to turn in their season tickets.

Attendance for the five home games this season averaged 37,068,
about three-quarters of capacity in the 49,000-seat Carrier Dome.

Cantor said that whoever replaces Crouthamel, who has been a
staunch supporter of Pasqualoni, will be empowered to evaluate the
football program and make decisions.

"The evaluation of this fall's football season was on Jake's
watch," said Cantor, who was named chancellor in August. "The
future of the football program will be the new AD's responsibility.
Paul knows that."

Pasqualoni, who entered the media room in the bowels of the
Carrier Dome with a wink and a smile, was understandably relieved
that he and his staff were being retained.

"We really appreciate the confidence," he said. "We don't
take it for granted. We understand the expectations. That's one of
the reasons I came here."

The Orange likely saved Pasqualoni's job by upsetting then-No.
17 Boston College in the season finale, which vaulted Syracuse into
a four-way tie for the Big East championship and knocked the Eagles
out of a BCS bowl. The win also snapped Syracuse's 10-game losing
streak on the road in conference play and came on the heels of the
lowest moment in Pasqualoni's tenure, the team's second straight
loss at Temple.

"It's a matter of getting it done on the road consistently,"
said Pasqualoni, whose Orange have gone 9-3 at home the last two
seasons. "I love the challenge."

So far, 14 Division I-A head football coaches have either been
fired or have resigned and two others have retired. Pasqualoni said
he wasn't concerned about the prospect of having to report next
year to someone other than Crouthamel, who is in his 27th year on
the job.

"When you get into this business, I think you understand there
are no guarantees," said Pasqualoni, who was hired as an assistant
in 1987 under Dick MacPherson before taking over in 1991. "I chose
to be in this profession. I'm not some naive guy. I came here
knowing I could be here one year. Eighteen years later, nothing's
changed."