Syracuse Turns To Former Player
Courtesy Syracuse University
December 12, 2008
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – Syracuse letterwinner and New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone is the new Orange football coach.
Syracuse University graduate Doug Marrone, a former pro football player and successful coach in the Division I collegiate ranks and the National Football League, is returning to his alma mater as the program’s 28th head coach.
Marrone, whose coaching resume includes stints at Georgia Tech and Tennessee, has been the offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints since 2006.
"We’re going to create a vision for the student-athletes to show that hard work, dedication, good character, honesty and loyalty will be part of our team and we’re going to be able to go out and win football games," Marrone said. "When I tell you I’m excited about this job, it’s beyond that. When I tell you I’ve dreamed about it, it’s beyond that. This is the vision I’ve always had. I made the decision to go into coaching and started 30 miles from here at Cortland State. Every decision I have made along that way, I was thinking to myself, ‘Am I making the right decision so that one day I could come back to Syracuse University.’ In my heart I knew I was the best person for this job to get us back to where we want to be. I’ve always been part of the program, but now I have a chance to do something with it. It’s a family and we’re all in this together."
For the past three seasons, Marrone has been the offensive coordinator and offensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints. The 2008 Saints lead the NFL in total offense (401.6 yards per game) and passing offense (304.2 yards per game). During his tenure, the Saints have been one of the NFL’s most explosive and consistent offenses, ranking among the league leaders since his arrival and rewriting the club’s all-time record book in the process. Quarterback Drew Brees currently leads the NFL in passing yards (4,332).
"We had a very strong and experienced committee that was instrumental in the search for our next coach, and Daryl and I relied on their collective advice throughout the selection process," said Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. "The committee was very confident in recommending Doug and that he has the best background, experience and plan to return our football program to prominence. I’m confident Doug has just what it takes to restore SU’s winning tradition, and I and the entire SU community welcome Doug and his family back to Syracuse."
The committee, which recommended Marrone, included Syracuse University Board of Trustees Chair John Chapple, Trustees Art Monk, Bob Miron and Howie Phanstiel, former Syracuse head coach Dick MacPherson, and Orange All-Americans Tim Green and Floyd Little.
"We looked everywhere to make sure that we brought someone to Syracuse who we feel can be successful, who has true passion for the University and community, and who understands recruiting in the Northeast, while being global at the same time," said Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross. "I had the great fortunate to rely on such an outstanding committee for advice and recommendations. It was a thorough search and we found the perfect guy in Doug Marrone. He is a Syracuse graduate whose passion for the job is unmatched. He’s prepared himself for this and brings incredible football expertise to the position. Today, I’m so honored and happy to have him as part of our program. He’s a Bronx-born kid who knows New York state so well. We are New York’s College Team and Doug Marrone is New York’s own college football head coach. He has kept his roots and his ties, and is familiar to the recruiting trail. He will hit the ground running."
Marrone’s Playing Days
A three-year starter as an offensive lineman at Syracuse, Marrone earned Associated Press All-East honors as a senior and second-team recognition as a junior. As a sophomore, he was named AP All-East Honorable Mention. During his tenure with the first string, the Orange had a 19-15 record and earned the school’s first bowl bid in six years. Marrone and his teammates, including All-American Tim Green, helped lay the foundation that ultimately resulted in Syracuse’s undefeated season in 1987.
Selected in the sixth round of the 1986 NFL Draft, Marrone was picked by the Los Angeles Raiders and played two seasons in the NFL; first with the Miami Dolphins in 1987 and then with the Saints in 1989. Marrone also had stints with Pittsburgh, Dallas and Minnesota before closing his career with the NFL Europe London Monarchs (1991-92).
Immediate Impact in New Orleans
After leading the NFL in total offense for the first time in club history in 2006, the unit had a fitting encore last season by finishing fourth in the league. The Saints ranked first in red zone touchdown percentage (.720, 36 of 50), led the NFC in third-down conversions (46.3) and notched 346 first downs, shattering the team record by 16 that the club had set in 2006. New Orleans set an NFL record with 440 completions, and also set team all-time highs for passing first downs (222), attempts (652), touchdown passes (28) and completion percentage (67.5).
A key part of the success has been the offensive line, which has flourished under Marrone’s guidance. Though New Orleans led the NFL in passes attempts last year, the club also allowed the fewest sacks in the league with a scant 16, an average of one per 41 attempted. Since Marrone’s arrival in 2006, the Saints have thrown 1,232 passes – including 580 in 2006 – and surrendered only 39 sacks.
With the Saints, Marrone is responsible for supervising the offense on a weekly basis, as well as tutoring an offensive line that has evolved into one of the NFL’s best units. Marrone’s detail-oriented approach has earned him a reputation around league circles for innovation and as a top-notch teacher.
Prior to his arrival in New Orleans, the team never had a 4,000-yard passer or posted more than 5,700 yards of offense. The Saints set a team record with an NFL-leading 6,264 yards in Marrone’s first season, and followed that total with 5,780 yards in 2007. Brees has thrown for more than 4,000 yards in each of the last three seasons, including 4,332 yards through 14 games this season, a club-record 4,423 yards in 2007, and 4,418 yards in 2006. These accomplishments have come despite Marrone molding an offensive line that had a different starter at every position from the unit he inherited.
In 2006, Jammal Brown was voted All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl in his first season at left tackle, and Jahri Evans was a unanimous All-Rookie selection. The Saints averaged 391.5 yards per game and set club records with 330 first downs, an average of 5.8 yards per play and 4,503 passing yards. The Saints were the only team in the NFL with four players with over 650 receiving yards.
Marrone’s Climb up the Coaching Ladder
Marrone joined Sean Payton’s staff after serving as the offensive line coach of the New York Jets from 2002-05. During that span, Marrone formed a group of veterans and young players into one of the club’s most consistent position groups. During his four-year stretch with New York, the Jets played in four playoff games (two in 2002 and a pair in 2004).
In 2004, the offensive line paved the way for the Jets to finish third in the NFL in rushing yards (2,388) and second in rushing first downs (135) as the offense posted one of the highest rushing averages (4.5) in club history. RB Curtis Martin led the league with 1,697 yards and posted nine 100-yard games.
In 2003, the offensive line helped the offense average 5.3 yards per play and 4.0 yards per rushing attempt. In Marrone’s first season with the Jets, and despite having two new starters, the line led the way for the offense to rush for 1,618 yards. Marrone arrived in New York after spending 2001 at the University of Tennessee as tight ends and tackles coach. Marrone spent a season at the University of Georgia (2000) after serving from 1995-99 at Georgia Tech.
During his stint with the Yellow Jackets, Marrone was the director of football operations (1995), tight ends coach (1996) and the offensive line coach (1997-99). In 1999, the Yellow Jackets finished first nationally in total offense, averaging 509.4 yards and 40.7 points per game. Georgia Tech participated in a bowl game each season from 1997-99.
He began his coaching career in 1992 at Cortland (N.Y.) State as a tight ends coach before stints as offensive line coach at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy (1993) and Northeastern University (1994).
Marrone graduated from Syracuse University in 1991.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT DOUG MARRONE
John Chapple, Chair, Syracuse University Board of Trustees
"Throughout this process, we had an outstanding committee working very closely with Daryl to select our next coach. The committee included individuals who have a strong understanding of the game, an insightful perspective on our football history and legacy, and a definitive sense of the qualities and experience we need in a coach. We are excited to have chosen Doug to lead our football program as he is a top-quality coach with a very strong background and many years of coaching experience. Doug’s love for the Orange and his enthusiasm about our football program’s potential was contagious. His can-do attitude made us believe he will begin establishing a winning program on day one."
Syracuse All-American running back Floyd Little (1964-66)
"Doug is one of ours. He understands what Syracuse is all about. He knows who we are. He played in the NFL and coached in the NFL. He is on the short list of future NFL coaches, but Syracuse University is his passion. He was born to be the Syracuse head coach. He will have the intensity. We can win immediately. We are not rebuilding, we are restructuring. We will be able to compete on day one. I think he is the guy for us at this time. I don’t think there is a better coach out there. He wants to be the next Syracuse head coach and the last Syracuse head coach."
Syracuse All-American defensive tackle Tim Green (1982-85)
"Doug has a passion for Syracuse University as an institution that is unparalleled. His knowledge of the x’s and o’s of the game. He is one of the best football minds in the nation. He is considered one of the top offensive coordinators in the National Football League and is on the short list to become a head coach because of that technical knowledge of the game.
Former Syracuse (1981-90) and NFL head coach Dick MacPherson
"Doug is one of my former players so naturally I’m thrilled. I think Doug will wake up the echoes and energize our current players, former players and our fans. Doug’s resume, in terms of where he’s coached and who he has coached with, almost guarantees success."
Robert Miron, Vice Chair, Syracuse University Board of Trustees
"As a committee, we worked with Daryl throughout the process to identify and select our next head coach, and the consensus was that Doug Marrone was the best candidate for the job. Doug has tremendous experience as a coach, both at the collegiate and professional levels. He brings excellent connections to high schools in New York and throughout the northeast, and he has a comprehensive plan to return our football program to prominence. Doug is a SU man at heart and his dream has always been to return to his alma mater as head football coach. I’m very excited about his selection."