Syracuse will hire defensive coordinator Scott Shafer to be its next head coach, CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman reported Monday night. Shafer will replace Doug Marrone, who left after four seasons at Syracuse to become the head coach of the Buffalo Bills.
Shafer has been the Orange's defensive coordinator for the duration of Marrone's tenure at the helm and helped lead a drastic turnaround of what had been a porous Syracuse defense. In his first year on the job, SU improved from 114th to 37th in total defense. The following season, the Orange was seventh in total defense. This year, though, it slipped to 44th.
Shafer became a frontrunner for the job when word leaked that Marrone was leaving the program on Sunday, along with offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. ESPN reported during its broadcast of the BCS national championship game Monday night that Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco was also a candidate.
Syracuse Athletic Director Daryl Gross said on ESPN radio Monday that the department would move immediately on a new hire to replace Marrone. He also stressed favoring some signs of continuity that would build on Syracuse's "momentum" from the last three seasons, in which it earned two trips to the Pinstripe Bowl and won both games. The Orange is preparing for a move to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
“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, according to The Daily Orange's Chris Iseman. “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.”