4 Factors Will Determine How Long Dino Babers Stays in Syracuse
Dino Babers turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for the once ailing Syracuse University football program. The head coach turned the Orange fortunes around in three years.
The 2018 campaign ended with a runaway romp over West Virginia at the Camping World Bowl in Orlando, putting a decisive stamp on a 10-3 record. Fans were thrilled. Other colleges expressed interest in Babers. Syracuse gave him a multi-year contract extension. Now, the big question is: How long will he stay with the Orange?
There are four determining factors, and they're all intertwined.
It's one thing to politely decline an offer from the University of Maryland, but it's an entirely different proposition when a pitch comes down the pike from USC--and we're not talkin' Utica School of Commerce.
Babers has already experienced Bowling Green and Eastern Illinois money. Now he has Syracuse money. Someday, if he wants, maybe he'll have a chance at USC-style money.
If Babers produces another 10-3 mark in 2019, it's a virtual guarantee he'll receive serious overtures from some of college football's most prestigious programs in need of coaching changes. The salaries for those jobs would be measured not in hundreds of thousands, but in millions. That could be tough to ignore. And impossible for Syracuse to match.
Babers uttered the words "Orange forever" a few times this season. Maybe he's "Orange forever" in the same way Dick MacPherson was, even after Coach Mac left for the Patriots of the NFL--always a supporter of the team.
Or, maybe the phrase has a more literal meaning. Maybe the pressure of bigger jobs and bigger cities does not appeal to Babers. Maybe he truly feels at home in Syracuse and wants to build his own dynasty in the Salt City. Then, he could savor the kind of comfort and security basketball coach Jim Boeheim has enjoyed over the decades.
Sometimes situations percolate slowly, like a pot of coffee, and develop, like a polaroid picture. Maybe the football gods will conspire against Babers and his Orange team. Maybe the bounces and injuries and breaks will not be favorable. Maybe the Orange will average six to eight wins per year, instead of 10, over the next few seasons.
That type of mid-level success might quell rabid interest in Babers from the powerhouse programs, but would certainly keep Syracuse content. And maybe that's exactly what Syracuse fans would want. Is it possible that's precisely what they should hope for?