Boise State athletics director Mark Coyle talks to the crowd during halftime of an NCAA college basketball game against Boise State in Boise, Idaho, on Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013. Saint Mary's defeated Boise State 82-74. (AP Photo/Otto Kitsinger)
Otto Kitsinger
June 22, 2015

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Mark Coyle called Syracuse ''a special place'' when he was introduced as the school's new athletic director.

''It's a special place because of its history, its tradition,'' he said Monday at his introductory news conference after being handed a Syracuse jersey with his name and No. 1 emblazoned on the back. ''It's a special place, and it's going to go through transition.''

Coyle, who comes to Syracuse after serving as athletic director at Boise State since December 2011, was recommended by a search committee and has to go through the formality of being approved by the board of trustees. Coyle also spent seven years at Kentucky in various roles and was associate athletic director of external relations at Minnesota. He will succeed interim athletic director Pete Sala on July 6.

Coyle is well-prepared for the NCAA sanctions facing Syracuse in basketball and football. Coyle was hired three months after the NCAA sanctioned Boise State for rules violations in five of its sports, including football. Boise's probation ended in September, and now Coyle is walking into a department that was just placed on five years' probation and will need to provide annual reports to the NCAA on its compliance progress.

In his tenure at Boise State, Coyle beefed up compliance funding and hired more staff. At Syracuse, he said he's already spoken to all the head coaches, and in the news conference he reiterated his way of doing business.

''We want to make sure we live in truth always, and that we're very honest and transparent in everything we do,'' Coyle said. ''I want to make sure I know what's going on, and I want to make sure that our staff, our student-athletes and our coaches operate that way.''

Former Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross stepped down in March shortly after the NCAA finished an eight-year investigation into the Syracuse basketball and football programs. Gross currently serves as vice president and special assistant to Chancellor Kent Syverud. Gross led the Orange into the financial security of the Atlantic Coast Conference and pushed the private university into the modern age of the college sports business. But he left behind a struggling football program and a basketball team dealing with significant NCAA sanctions and scholarship limitations.

The NCAA punished men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim and the university for violations involving academics, improper benefits and other areas, which officials said showed the school had lost control of the athletic department. Coyle said he read the NCAA report before accepting the job.

A key decision looms in basketball. The 70-year-old Boeheim, who begins his 40th season at his alma mater, announced in March that he would coach no longer than three more seasons - and maybe fewer - and longtime assistant Mike Hopkins is in line to succeed him.

''I think my role now is to come in here and help the program,'' Coyle said. ''I have a great deal of respect for coach Boeheim.

''Obviously, that's a critical piece to this institution,'' he said, adding only that there would be more conversations and more announcements in the future.

As for football, the team has slowly emerged from its nadir reached in Greg Robinson's tenure - his 10-37 record from 2005-08 represents the worst four-year stretch in school history. Coyle said Syracuse will schedule ''wisely and efficiently'' with a goal of playing in a meaningful bowl game.

''I think you have to schedule in a way that gives you a chance to compete for postseason success,'' he said.

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