Scott Shafer, who is recognized as one of the top defensive minds in college football, is taking the reins of the Syracuse University's football program as head coach. The Orange defensive coordinator for the past four years, Shafer has a 22-year history coaching in the collegiate ranks. He has mentored four All-Americans and 32 all-conference selections, including 10 All-BIG EAST performers at Syracuse. His defenses are known for blitzing schemes and a relentless pursuit of the football. Shafer replaces Doug Marrone, who was named the head coach of the National Football League's Buffalo Bills yesterday.
"I look forward to representing the hard-nosed city of Syracuse and the great state of New York as the head coach of Syracuse University," Shafer said. "We will go to work every day to put a quality product on the field as we storm our way into the Atlantic Coast Conference. We are very motivated to start preparing for the 2013 campaign with our current team and incoming student-athletes."
Shafer's Syracuse defenses have ranked among the nation's best in various categories during his four-year tenure, including the 2012 unit that ranked sixth nationally in tackles for a loss. In 2009, Shafer's defense ranked 37th in the country after having been 114th in 2008. The unit also improved dramatically in first downs allowed, ranking 27th (from 104th), sacks (sixth from 100th), and third-down defense (28th from 117th). The next year the Orange defense was No. 7 in the nation and Shafer was nominated for the AFCA National Assistant Coach of the Year and the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach.
"Scott Shafer is an experienced, intelligent, motivating coach who has dedicated his life to coaching and developing college student-athletes," said Syracuse Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross. "I can't think of a coach in America who is more deserving of having an opportunity to be a head coach. His commitment to developing the total student-athlete is unmatched. We have all seen the attitude of his defense which consists of unity, toughness and persistence. I know and trust Coach Shafer will enhance the momentum that has been created in the program. He is a brilliant coach, a tireless worker and a relentless recruiter who believes that we can create a sustainable championship culture. I am convinced Coach Shafer will successfully carry the torch of the Syracuse football legacy."
"Coach Scott Shafer has been an important factor in why the winning tradition has returned to our program," said Chairman of the SU Board of Trustees Richard L. Thompson and SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor in a joint statement. "He has the vision, commitment, and energy necessary for our team to be successful on the field and for our student-athletes to succeed off-the-field, both academically and personally. As we continue to strengthen the program, his outstanding abilities, developed over 20 years of coaching, make him the right leader to build on Syracuse Football's strong momentum in the years ahead. We congratulate Dr. Daryl Gross who undertook a swift, intensive search process that identified the right candidate - while ensuring stability, continuity, and quality in our football program."
Many of Shafer's players have continued their career in the National Football League, including Syracuse standouts Chandler and Arthur Jones, Doug Hogue and Phillip Thomas, Western Michigan's E.J. Biggers and Louis Delmas, Illinois' Kelvin Hayden and Michgian's Morgan Trent.
Prior to coming to Syracuse, Shafer climbed the coaching ranks with stops at Indiana University (graduate assistant, 1991-92), the University of Rhode Island (secondary, 1993-95), Northern Illinois University (defensive coordinator/defensive backs, 1996-2003), the University of Illinois (defensive backs, 2004), Western Michigan(defensive coordinator/defensive backs, 2005-06), Stanford (assistant head coach/defensive coordinator, 2007), and the University of Michigan (defensive coordinator, 2008).
At Rhode Island, Shafer helped lead the Rams to the New England Division title. The success continued at Northern Illinois, where the Huskies ranked third nationally in interceptions (23). His 2002 unit led the MAC in every defensive category.
During Shafer's two years at Western Michigan, he played a key role in one of the biggest turnarounds in Broncos history, as the team went from 1-11 the year prior to his arrival to 7-4 in 2005 and 8-4 in 2006. Shafer's 2006 defensive group led the nation in interceptions (24) and sacks (46), and finished sixth in run defense, seventh in turnover margin, 11th in total defense, and 14th in opponent third-down conversions. That unit also set a Mid-American Conference record for fewest rushing yards allowed per game (76.1 ypg). He was again nominated for the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant coach.
At Stanford, the Cardinal defense improved in every NCAA statistical defensive category from the previous season.
Shafer played quarterback and was a team captain at Baldwin-Wallace College from 1986 to 1989. He directed the Yellow Jackets offense that ranked 17th nationally in pass efficiency. He began his collegiate playing career at Ohio University in 1985.
A native of Painesville, Ohio, Shafer earned his undergraduate degree in education from Baldwin-Wallace in 1990 and his Master's degree from Indiana University in 1993. He and his wife, Missy, have a son, Wolfgang, and a daughter, Elsa.
THOUGHTS ON COACH SCOTT SHAFER FROM AROUND COLLEGE AND PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL
Jim Harbaugh, San Francisco 49ers Head Coach (2011-present); Stanford University Head Coach (2007-10)
"I am excited about the tremendous opportunity for Coach Shafer and Syracuse University. Scott is hard working, enthusiastic and of high character. Great things will happen with Shafe. He and his family will continue the rich and great Syracuse tradition."
Doug Marrone '91, Buffalo Bills Head Coach (2013-present); Syracuse University Head Coach (2009-12)
"As a Syracuse letterwinner, I am proud to have Scott Shafer leading the football program. He is a person of high integrity who cares about the student-athletes and their development on and off the field. Scott has proven his expertise as a defensive coordinator and is ready to lead the program. I wish him all the best as the head coach of the Orange."
David Shaw, Stanford University Head Coach (2011-present); Stanford Offensive Coordinator (2007-10)
"Scott Shafer brings enthusiasm to teaching young men to be excited about the game of football and play it the right way. He is going to make it an environment that's fun to be in - the coaches are going to love to come to work every day and the players are going to love to come to practice every day. I think the results of that will show when people are watching the games, the team and their unity. They will know that it starts from the top. It will be an exciting, fun environment for everyone.
"Coach Shafer believes in keeping it simple, having guys play fast and with a lot of emotion. I think that's what you're going to see even more of as Syracuse continues to grow and take those next steps. Everything is about passion and enjoying the game, the camaraderie and guys playing together. That is what Scott's about and I think it's going to transfer onto the field."
Bill Mallory, Indiana Head Coach (1984-96)
"Syracuse is getting a person who has been right there in the program and has been very involved in the improvement and success the program has seen. He is a smart, sharp individual who handles himself in a classy fashion, and stands for the right reasons. That is what you want. That goes into winning. That is the process.
"Syracuse fans should be very pleased and excited. Scott is what you want to see; he is character. He is an excellent people person, a great communicator. He is a very caring individual, which I think is so essential in coaching these young men. As the fans get to know him better, they will realize that you aren't going to find a more class individual. If I was an AD, he would be the kind of guy I'd want running my program because he's a winner and does the things you want to see."
Joe Novak, Northern Illinois Head Coach (1996-2007)
"Scott was one of my first hires when I got the head job at Northern Illinois. He has some fire to him, which is always good for a good football coach. The kids love him. He's excitable. He's enthusiastic. The players have always loved him and loved being coached by him. He'll get after them, but he'll also hug them up too. I think that's an important quality in a coach to be able to do both of those things. His enthusiasm will carry over to the fan base. I think he'll do a good job of continuing what Coach Marrone has done up there.
"One thing unique about Scott is that he was a quarterback in college. He spent a lot of time on the offensive side as a player and when he got into coaching, he got on the defensive side of the ball. That's unique in our profession. Most coaches are either offensive or defensive orientated, but Scott has great exposure on both sides of the ball. I think that's what helped him become a great football coach."
SHAFER'S RESUME AT-A-GLANCE
2013-present Head Coach Syracuse University
2012 Defensive Coordinator Syracuse University
2011 Defensive Coordinator/Secondary Syracuse University
2009-10 Defensive Coordinator Syracuse University
2008 Defensive Coordinator University of Michigan
2007 Asst. Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator Stanford University
2005-06 Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Western Michigan
2004 Defensive Backs University of Illinois
1996-2003 Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Northern Illinois University
1993-95 Secondary Coach University of Rhode Island
1991-92 Graduate Asst. Coach Indiana University
Championships and Bowl Games as a Coach
• 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Champions, Syracuse
• 2010 New Era Pinstripe Bowl Champions, Syracuse
• 2006 International Bowl, Western Michigan
• 2002 MAC West Division Champions, Northern Illinois
• 2001 MAC West Division Champions, Northern Illinois
• 1995 New England Division Champions, University of Rhode Island