In the days leading up to each SU football game, The Juice Online will address questions about the team in “Kickoff Countdown.” Today’s question: Will Syracuse fans cheer or boo Pasqualoni in his Syracuse return?
It’s been all about business for Connecticut coach Paul Pasqualoni in his return to Syracuse.
The Huskies will play the Orange at the Carrier Dome this Friday in what will be Pasqualoni’s first return to central New York since he was fired as SU’s head coach in 2004.
“This is a business. We’re not going up to Central New York to pick apples, ride on the hay wagon,” Pasqualoni said. “This is a business trip. Really, all I can see is getting ready to play this game.”
Perhaps when Pasqualoni was at SU, he squirreled away some time to do that.
The second winningest coach in the program’s history, Pasqualoni had plenty of success in the late 90s with Donovan McNabb, and then again in the 2001 season with Dwight Freeney. In 2001, the Orange finished the season ranked No. 14, and defeated Kansas State in the Insight Bowl.
But that would be the coach’s final winning season on The Hill, as he went 4-8 the following season, his only losing season at Syracuse. He went 6-6 the following two years before he was ousted following Syracuse’s 51-14 loss to Georgia Tech in the Champs Sports Bowl.
Pasqualoni bounced around in the NFL after he left the Orange, while Syracuse went into one of its worst eras in school history. Perhaps the fall to the bottom of Division I football has made some Orange fans long for the days of Coach P.
What kind of legacy did Pasqualoni leave at Syracuse? The answer should come on Friday.
Will Pasqualoni be cheered in his return to SU? Will he be booed? Or will he be met with indifference?
“I don’t know. That’s a good question,” Pasqualoni said. “That will be interesting.”
Until then, Pasqualoni is focused strictly on football.
“To tell you the truth I haven’t thought about it a great deal other than it’s a big game in our conference and it’s a big game for us,” he said. “I think that obviously I had a lot of good years there, a lot of good experiences. For me it’s more about the kids that you recruited, the players you coached, the coaches you worked with.”Wesley Cheng