It’s a big deal when Syracuse legend Floyd Little gets involved.
He did exactly that when it came time for the Syracuse Orange to hire a new head football coach, putting his seal of approval on former Bowling Green head coach Dino Babers for the position.
“This is a great moment in Syracuse University’s football history,” said Little at Babers’ introductory press conference on Monday morning. “It has been an honor working with athletic director Mark Coyle on this selection.”
Babers took over for Scott Shafer, who was dismissed in late November following a 4-8 season.
“This is a great place to be,” said Babers. “The tradition here is unbelievable.”
Babers’ personality dominated the press conference, which is one of the reasons he was hired, according to Coyle.
“We wanted the best fit,” he said. “We wanted someone with tremendous honesty and integrity, concern for the welfare of the students […] and a tradition of winning.”
It was fitting that the Hawaii native was introduced on Pearl Harbor day, especially with a military background. Babers talked about his father’s days in the Navy and how Dec. 7 always has a special meaning.
Babers made sure he had some fun during the press conference though, making everyone in attendance close their eyes and envision a packed Carrier Dome. During this quirky exercise though, he gave some insight into his coaching philosophies.
“Imagine a relentless defense, a well-coached special teams and an offense that does not huddle,” Babers said.
Babers also gave the indication that he will be flexible with his coaching style at the beginning of his tenure.
“We are going to do what our players are best at,” he said. “We are looking for early success.”
One of the ways Babers will have early success is to continue the pipeline of recruits from the northeast.
“Hire good recruiters and you can start looking anywhere,” Babers said. “We will start in our own backyard. We will take care of New York and then fan out from there.”