|Greg Robinson out as Syracuse football coach|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 17 November 2008 01:10|
The news came Sunday morning, only hours after a 39-14 home loss to Connecticut dropped his record in three-plus years to 9-36 and 3-25 in the Big East.
``I don't think it really comes as a surprise to anyone. It doesn't come as a surprise to me,'' Robinson said at a press conference Sunday evening. ``I ran out of time. I still see improvement. As always, I'm optimistic, I think with more time I could do better. Obviously, I didn't get it done. That's the bottom line. I understand why the decision was made, so I go from there. But I don't feel badly about how I'm leaving it for the next person at all.
ith a smile.''
In his meeting with athletic director Daryl Gross, Robinson told Gross it was important to him to finish the season and Gross readily agreed.
``I wanted to make sure under no uncertain terms he saw me as the head football coach until the season was concluded,'' said Robinson, who had another year left on a contract that pays $1.1 million per season. ``I've seen it become chaotic. This will not be chaotic.''
With road games remaining against Notre Dame and No. 19 Cincinnati, Syracuse (2-8, 1-5) will try to avoid its third 10-loss season under Robinson. The Orange had never reached double-digit losses in a season before Robinson was hired by Gross in January 2005 to replace Paul Pasqualoni.
Robinson began deflecting questions about his future as early as media day in August. As the team struggled through September and October, managing only a win over Northeastern of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), the public discontent and the empty seats in the Carrier Dome only increased.
``Last week we fell out of bowl contention and this week was senior week. We just thought at this point the community could relax,'' Gross said, explaining why he waited until Sunday to make a decision. ``He's a guy who wanted to live here the rest of his life. A guy like that you give a chance.''
After Syracuse went 2-10 last season, Gross decided to retain Robinson despite calls for change from both alumni and fans. Gross said he needed to see ``tangible improvement'' in the program - but that never happened.
Syracuse stayed close to Pittsburgh and West Virginia in its first two Big East games this season but was embarrassed 45-13 at South Florida on Oct. 18, accumulating 9 yards of offense and no first downs in the second half.
A 28-21 victory against Louisville at home on Nov. 1 provided a glimmer of hope, but the Orange have lost their last two games by a combined score of 74-31. Lopsided losses have been commonplace during Robinson's tenure.
``We talked this year about having all this progress, and we're not getting the wins,'' Gross said. ``This is a program that I felt at this time should be moving back toward prominence and competing for conference championships and we're not there. I think we need to move a little faster.''
Gross said a search was under way but offered no details.
Through all the down times, though, one thing remained constant - Robinson's players never seemed to give up. Most were despondent at the news.
``It's hard for myself and my teammates to stomach,'' senior tailback Curtis Brinkley said.
t of high school,'' said junior Andrew Robinson, the first quarterback Robinson signed and this year's starter. ``He's taught me how to act in the face of adversity and to be a team leader and a team player. I have a whole lot of respect for him, that's for sure. We were all pretty quiet after he told us.
``It's a disappointing day, but we're not really surprised,'' said Andrew Robinson, who was dropped to second string after playing poorly in the season-opening loss at Northwestern. ``Like most people, I kind of expected it. We're not immune to the outside world and the media.''
Robinson was a longtime NFL and college defensive coordinator, but he'd never been a head coach. He was hired to revive a Syracuse program with a long tradition of success that had gone stale.
Under him, though, the Orange struggled as never before. Robinson's first team went 1-10, the first time since Syracuse began playing football in 1889 that it lost 10 games. There have been few signs of improvement.
The team's poor performance under Robinson, who has had three offensive coordinators in his four seasons, also has hurt financially. In 21 homes games over Robinson's first three seasons, more than 260,000 seats were not sold.
turned out for Pittsburgh in September, the smallest Carrier Dome crowd in 22 years, and although Saturday night's announced attendance was just over 28,000, there were thousands fewer in the stands and virtually nobody remaining in the fourth quarter.
In April, the school newspaper, The Daily Orange, reported that the football team lost money in 2006 for the first time since 1995, when athletic departments were first required to report their finances to the government.