Syracuse Orange: What if you were the ‘Cuse athletic director for a month?

Syracuse Orange (Syndication: Rochester)
Syracuse Orange (Syndication: Rochester) /

Recently, this Syracuse Orange sports fan finally started writing a book/manuscript for a creative idea I’ve had for years. The premise is a sports blogger/radio host who constantly calls out the pro hockey commissioner and the commissioner calls into his show one day and challenges him to do better and gives him 30 days to be the commissioner.

Now I’ve written 3/4 of it already and just figuring out the best way to end it in a way I’d enjoy as a reader. So this isn’t an attempt to steal ideas or anything…just a fun, playful idea. So I ask, what would you do if you were the Syracuse Orange Athletic Director and you had 30 days to do what you think helps the university the most?

For the record, I have nothing but love and respect for Syracuse Orange Athletic Director John Wildhack. This is more of a fun exercise than an attack on administrators and just see what ideas we might have. I may not agree with every decision but I respect his position and the decisions he makes knowing he often has more information than I do.

I’ll share some tweets from others along the way, expanding on a couple and adding a couple of ideas I think might be fun to explore. And for once, I’ll leave the 44 retired or not debate out of it because I’ve made my opinion well known that I believe it should be on the field and this is about other things.

What would you do if you were the Syracuse Orange athletic director for a month?

Fan Experience:

This goes first not just because it got the quickest replies but it’s something I wanted to address as well and see others discuss often. I’m not sure how much say the AD has in certain matters but I’m definitely in favor of doing more and offering less.

What do I mean? How about for the doing more aspect, throw in a concert on the quad or even in the Dome featuring acts similar to what the Fair gets for Chevy Court? Or maybe even like a festival feeling? Make it more of an event to be there and if you don’t go, you’re missing out.

And for the less part, offer family pack options that include parking, refreshments and affordable seats for a family of 4 or 5. In my research over the years, it’s been noted that nationwide the Syracuse Orange offers some of the best rates for game tickets.

But if you’re bringing the family and money is tight, you’re still maybe a bit hesitant to see how much parking will cost you or the price of a hot dog and a drink for 5. Maybe work with a sponsor and get some kind of a deal with Hofmann’s or Pepsi or whomever to help.

Is Syracuse’s best bet the ACC?:

This one is next because one of the biggest debates about on-field competition is what conference is best for the ‘Cuse. As you can see above, my friend James likes the idea of a Big 10 jump. I also hear frequently about how much some fans miss the Big East.

I like the ACC personally but I do worry that the Big 10 and the SEC are lining themselves up to be the two best conferences and where will that lead Syracuse if the ACC loses teams?

Now I do think in this situation, Mr. Wildhack is probably more intelligent and aware of the situations than I would be BUT I’d definitely sit down with him and also try to talk to others in and out of the conference to see their views on the future of the ACC and see what options are available.

Ideally, I’d love to see Syracuse playing Penn State, West Virginia and even a few other Big 10 or Big 12 teams as well but I also don’t hate the ACC and if the future is bright there and the Syracuse Orange can continue to profit while there long term, maybe staying isn’t a bad idea. But I’d definitely spend a lot of time ensuring this was the best option or exploring others.

Explore ways to do more local TV and events:

This one is tricky because I’m not dumb and understand contracts are what they are but I still have to say it. I would explore any and all options to allow a local station to carry a couple of games at least with the announcing team being the local guys like Matt Park.

Growing up, I remember watching the games on local TV with the Voice of the Orange doing them. As a Mets fan, I favor the games on SNY because Gary, Keith and Ron are my guys as is Matt. Plus there are many in the area who don’t stream or have a provider deal with 600 channels. It’s really easy to forget that many in CNY (and across the country) are deciding between heat and food or don’t feel the need to pay for that stuff so make it easier to find and with the local voices.

I’d also work with local businesses and do more meet-and-greet/ticket events. Why not give Caleb Okechukwu a little money to come out to Tully’s and sign autographs or bring Judah Mintz and a food truck to the local business that either invests the most money into the program or raises the most money for a particular charity? You’re now giving more local folks the opportunity to get to know more about the players and the programs and feel more involved.

Brand more Orange:

This one is my favorite personally. While many teams have orange colors in their uniforms and such, there is only one Orange and that’s Syracuse Orange. So why not embrace this more and find ways to make the beautiful color more prevalent in the program and the athletic areas?

I would explore what an Orange Dome court and field would look like. I would look into the cost of painting the Dome orange. I would look into making the roads around the campus or at least around the fields (or walking paths) orange. And I’d work with Nike or whomever and truly work on making the jerseys and accessories not only more Orange but in a way that pops, pleasing players and fans, especially those looking to buy the merchandise. Orange is such a beautiful color that’s bold and stands out so embrace it and enjoy the branding.

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