The Syracuse football community lost an icon on Tuesday — as Richard F. "Dick" MacPherson passed away at age 86.
Coach Mac, who remained a staple at 'Cuse long after his tenure — arrived in 1981 and built the football program into a national championship contender. The Orange put together a 66-46-4 record during his nine-year stint, including a 4-1 mark in bowl games and Syracuse was ranked as high as No. 4 nationally in that time.
— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) August 9, 2017
After an impressive and unprecedented perfect 11-0 season in 1987, Coach Mac was the consensus pick for national coach of the year, earning recognition from 12 different groups including the American Football Coaches Association, the Football Writers Association of America and the NCAA.
In his final five seasons leading the Orange — Syracuse went 36-10-3, but in 1990, Coach Mac was named head coach of the New England Patriots in the NFL.
While MacPherson's coaching record doesn't jump out as some incredible feat — it was just that. The fact that he was able to come in and revamp a program that was struggling mightily, make it relevant on the national stage and leave it in great shape is truly remarkable.
Coach Mac's rebuild of the 'Cuse football program will go down as one of the most impressive turnarounds in college football history. Leading up to his hiring, Syracuse had posted a 34-55 (.382) record during the recent eight seasons. The Orange had not recorded an above .500 mark since a 6-4 record in 1970.
I'm 29-years-old, so I'm not going to act like I'm well-versed on the career and legacy of Coach Mac. I knew of his name and that he had some success at Syracuse back in the '80s, but that's about it. I've spent the last day or so reading as much as I can, while trying to learn about MacPherson's legacy at Syracuse. I've been blown away.
On Wednesday morning, the Syracuse athletic department released a touching tribute video to their longtime coach. It's fantastic. If you are younger like I am, I really encourage you to take a few moments to watch this. It's worth your time and gives great insight into one of the most influential people in Syracuse football history.