Syracuse Orange: Generous giving back by John Wildhack is admirable

John Wildhack, who recently got an extension as the Syracuse Orange athletics director, is leading by example at his alma mater.

John Wildhack, the long-time ESPN executive turned Syracuse Orange athletics director, earned $770,313 in 2018, the most recent year that such information is presently available, according to a report by Chris Carlson of

Wildhack, who graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 1980 and began his stint as the ‘Cuse athletics director in July of 2016, with one single gift is donating to his alma mater more than he earned in salary in 2018.

Per a feature on the Syracuse University Web site, Wildhack and his wife, Amy, have pledged $1 million to the school’s “Athletics Framework supporting the future of the athletics program.”

Look, I get that John Wildhack probably earned a comfortable living at ESPN and continues to do so at Syracuse, however, $1 million is incredibly generous, regardless of what he makes on an annual basis.

More from the feature story. “The Wildhacks have already put plenty of skin in the game as donors to Syracuse athletics and the Falk College, including a $200,000 pledge to the Orange Club Football Fund in 2018. They have also donated to the Lampe Athletics Complex Building Fund, the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center and the Falk College Complex General Renovation Fund.”

Kudos to Syracuse Orange Athletics Director John Wildhack and his wife, Amy, for donating $1 million to the school.

In April, amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, university leaders announced that Wildhack, Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers and Orange basketball head coaches Jim Boeheim and Quentin Hillsman were among those who would take a voluntary 10-percent reduction in their compensation for the fiscal year 2021 to help school officials deal with the financial fallout from the pandemic.

The feature story says that, at some point down the road, a physical space will get named stemming from the donation by John and Amy Wildhack.

“We are not going to try to match every brick and mortar at those more well-endowed schools. We don’t need big offices or shiny structures. We need facilities that are functional, adaptable, technologically advanced, creative and impressive to our recruits and future coaches and trainers,” John Wildhack says.

He adds, “Seeing our students graduate and build their careers and have professional success in a variety of fields is motivation enough. Many of them talk about how vital Syracuse athletics was to their success. That’s what drives us and we hope will inspire others.”

Wildhack’s generosity is admirable. He clearly loves Syracuse University, and he’s done a strong job to date as athletics director. That’s why he recently got extended in that role at least through mid-2025, and the greater ‘Cuse community is better for it.