first_imgMark Coyle was introduced to Syracuse University as the new athletic director. He spoke with Sam Blum of The Daily Orange in an exclusive interview on Monday afternoon. Here’s the entire Q&A:The Daily Orange: You said today that you jumped at the opportunity when you found out the (Athletic Director) job was open. I’m curious, given some of the stuff that Syracuse is going through now, why is this opportunity one that you jumped at? Mark Coyle: As I touched on earlier, growing up a college athletics fan and getting a chance to see Syracuse on TV so many times, I think if you’re a fan of college sports, you’re attracted to Syracuse and what it represents. They’ve got such a strong academic institution and such a strong and proud tradition of athletics. I felt like it was a really good fit for me and my family. That’s why I was so excited about this opportunity and can’t tell you how grateful I am to be here as director of athletics.The D.O.: You said this morning that you wanted to take the football team to “special bowl games”. What does that mean more specifically, and as an athletic director, what’s your role in that?M.C.: I think the first thing in that is is that I have to spend time with Coach Shafer and his staff. And I want to spend time with the student-athletes. As I said this morning, I promise you that no one wants to win more than Coach Shafer and the student-athletes on that team and it’s my job as athletic director to come in and help them have a feel for, ‘These are things that work and these are things that don’t work, and how can I help improve on the things that will help our program reach the next level that we all so desperately want.’”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe D.O.: Last month, and I’m not sure how much you’ve been filled in on this, but there was controversy and a lot of confusion with the No. 44 with the Syracuse football program. I’m curious what your perspective is on that situation, how it was handled by the school, and do you feel like bringing the number back is something that you want to roll with in the future? M.C.: The first thing I will do is sit down with Floyd Little. I have a chance to have lunch with him later in the week. I look forward to hearing his perspective and getting an understanding from him. Obviously that number means so much to this institution and so much to the individuals who wore that number, and again I want to sit down with Floyd and have a conversation with him. And then we’ll go from there.The D.O.: Is there anything about the way it was handled that kind of struck you? Because it kind of went back and forth and there was a lot of miscommunication it appeared. Is that something that you’d like to improve on, the communication? M.C.: At the time I was the athletic director at Boise State and I was focused on Boise State, so I don’t have a comment in terms of how it was communicated. I was focused on Boise State.The D.O.: You said this morning that you wanted to talk to Pete Sala about the future of the Carrier Dome because that’s been going back and forth. A lot of different people have said a lot of different things. What do you envision that conversation being like and what kind of things do you think will be discussed. And what do you see in the future?M.C.: I know Pete and the administration have had conversations about the Carrier Dome and I mentioned earlier, it’s such a special place. You’ve got history and tradition there. And I said, our goal is to get 18-year-old kids to say yes to Syracuse. And academically the reputation this institution has from an academic standpoint, how can we make sure our athletic facilities match that integrity and excellence that the university talks about. We want to be very strong have that bond with the academic side as well. Whatever we do with the Carrier Dome, I want to make sure that it matches the institutions long-term goals and visions, but most importantly is an attractive piece for kids when it comes to our institution and they can look at it say they want to be a part of that.The D.O.: And you talk to the head coaching staffs right now, and you talked to them only briefly, but there’s only currently one female head coach on the staff, and what do you kind of think of that and what do you think of the coaches that you’ve talked to?M.C.: I did reach out to all the head coaches yesterday. I didn’t have a chance to visit with all of them. I traded voicemails from that standpoint. But again, I’ve been very impressed with the coaching. If you look at the overall coaching at Syracuse they’ve had such strong success in olympic sports. Competing in the ACC is such a great thing for this institution. I’ve been impressed with the head coaches and look forward to have the opportunity to really sit down with them and learn more about their programs and how I can help them achieve the goals that I have for the student-athletes to not only compete at a high level, but also to compete academically and graduate from this great institution.The D.O.: Throughout the hiring process, how much research did you do on even some of the non-revenue sports, some of the smaller sports coming in? M.C.: I want to make sure we have a nationally relevant program. I follow all of those sports. I remember when I first started having conversations, I was following the women’s lacrosse team in the final four. And that got me excited. I pay attention, and as I mentioned before, if a young man or woman has Syracuse written across their chest, we’re going to do everything we can to give them all the opportunities and resources they need financially and personnel wise to succeed and have success at a high level.The D.O.: Are there any weaknesses or aspects of the athletic department that there are ways to make improvement and places to make improvements? M.C.: I haven’t made any judgements in terms of weaknesses and strengths from that standpoint. The only thing I can tell you is that I think this is a special place. And having been here before when they had the east regional here with Kentucky (in 2010), and experienced some of the fan base and as I did my research on the academic side and how this institution is so strong academically as I mentioned before, and a rich and proud tradition athletically that we have here. It just felt like a good fit for our family. And now it’s my job to come in here, like I mentioned earlier, and listen to staffs, and listen to coaches, and listen to student-athletes, and then I can start to put my fingerprints on some of the things I want to do to help this department moving forward.The D.O.: A lot has been made of your fundraising background, and when you come to a school like Syracuse, when you first started that interview process, Steve Ballentine said today that you asked a lot of questions about the budget and you were well-informed in that area. I’m curious, how important will that be at Syracuse, and what kind of questions did you ask, and what kind of answers did you get during that process?M.C.: Well as I mentioned during the press conference, I really appreciate how straight forward and honest and transparent the search committee was and how straightforward Chancellor (Kent) Syverud was when I asked him those questions. And I feel like I have a good early understanding of what our needs are in terms of fundraising. From my standpoint, and you can talk to any athletic director across the country, and he or she are going to tell you that fundraising is a critical piece to the success of your department. That’s going to be a big focus of mine when I get here is that we develop authentic relationships with people, and we sell our mission that we want to create a program that’s competitive across all sports and competes at the highest level. Comments Published on June 22, 2015 at 4:38 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @SamBlum3 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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