first_img Published on November 29, 2015 at 7:31 pm Scott Shafer fought back tears as silence permeated throughout the room. Missy Shafer voiced words of encouragement from the back, helping her husband through his choked-up final words at Syracuse. The often-stern 48-year-old was the most vulnerable he’d been in three seasons as head coach, if only for a minute and 40 seconds.And just like that, as Shafer descended the steps from the podium with haste, the public got its last look at a man who was fired five days prior.“He’s an emotional person, as you know,” Floyd Little said. “I like him as a person. He did the best he could for the most part.”For the most part, it wasn’t good enough. Seven combined wins in the last two seasons. A defense that surrendered 40-plus points in each of its five road games. Two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on him in two of the last three weeks. The recent demerits leading to Shafer’s demise will, from the outside, define a tenure that seemed to lose hope with each passing week.That’s the side of Shafer most have seen.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHis firing before Saturday’s game against Boston College provided a glimpse into what many haven’t. Parents posted pictures of Shafer in their homes, arms extended around the shoulders of their children and a smile across his face. Players both past and current expressed their support, some saying Shafer was the one who gave them a chance in life.In some ways, Director of Athletics Mark Coyle’s decision took a backseat to the human aspect as the week progressed. Outside the results-driven business of coaching emerged a man with layers beyond a 14-23 overall record.“When we would go to his house in the offseason, he would treat us just like family,” sophomore wideout Steve Ishmael said. “He was never a greedy guy and always treated us great. I love him.”Just after 11 a.m. on Saturday, Shafer trotted onto the Carrier Dome turf for the last time before a game. He spoke with Boston College assistants, aggressively clapped when a manager caught a Riley Dixon punt and chatted with two fans for about a minute before fading into the tunnel.During Senior Day ceremonies, he posed for pictures with the families of 23 players and managers honored. He raised both fists just six seconds into his postgame press conference and the emotion began pouring out. His daughter, Elsa, pressed her head against Missy’s shoulder and his son, Wolfgang, got red in his eyes.“I want to thank the community and the communities both on campus and in Syracuse, especially in Fayetteville,” Shafer said, “and all the people that have been there for Missy and I and helping us raise our two kids for the past seven years.”There are 27 children of coaches on the Syracuse staff. Some, if not most or all, will have to relocate after their fathers were displaced from jobs. The fallout from firing a coach extends beyond the race to find a replacement. It trickles into families and that may be where the brunt of the move is felt most.When Shafer kept Eric Dungey in a blowout against Louisville and the freshman suffered another head injury, Shafer was rightfully lambasted for his reasoning. When he cost Syracuse 15 yards against No. 1 Clemson, he was exposed for not sticking to his mantra of “control the controllables.” When he drew another flag for unsportsmanlike conduct against North Carolina State, he didn’t even wait to be asked about the slip-up before explaining himself.The tension surrounding his job status built up and it was justified.But even if he’s a coach with flaws plastered on him throughout an eight-game losing streak, there’s a human side.Ishmael will remember Shafer most for his enthusiasm and positivity. Zaire Franklin for his fire and emotion. Little for his “hard-nosed” style and ability to inspire. Offensive coordinator Tim Lester for a level of care for players that can’t be found in most coaches.The final evaluations had little to do with football.And after a week, and season, littered with well-documented faults that led to Shafer’s downfall, that’s how he should go out.Matt Schneidman is an Asst. Sports Editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at mcschnei@syr.edu or @matt_schneidman. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more


first_img• Related: Will second meeting with Aldridge pay off?The Lakers reportedly were having a second meeting with Aldridge, the power forward from Portland who clocks in with 23.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per night. Apparently they didn’t have enough time in the first meeting to explain their plan. Or apparently they spent most of the time talking about L.A. and not enough about the Lakers, and how Aldridge would fit.Is there a center to help Aldridge, especially on the defensive side? Is there an offense that incorporates what he does? Just who are D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, really, and what happens if Kobe Bryant leaves after this season? A lot of stuff to discuss. Maybe they ran out of mozzarella sticks.Monroe, another movable power forward who has played in Detroit, was ticketed for New York. But joining a 17-win team that has Carmelo Anthony was enough to un-punch that ticket. The Lakers approached Monroe, too, but Milwaukee signed him, and that was almost too much to bear. Milwaukee? Monroe turned down Hollywood for Laverne and Shirley? No. Monroe, late of Detroit, knows abandoned property when he sees it. He chose a team that pushed Chicago to six games in the playoffs, welcomes back Jabari Parker, gets a full year out of Michael Carter-Williams, brings Grievis Vazquez off the bench, and has pterodactyl reach all over its frontcourt.Monroe also chose Jason Kidd as coach. He wants to win and he doesn’t really care how much snow accompanies it. He can hire a driver, if he wants.Kevin Love lives in Los Angeles. But Love also sat on Cleveland’s bench, with his injured shoulder, and watched the Cavaliers get to Game 6 of the NBA Finals without their second- and third-best players (himself and Kyrie Irving). So he is staying put. Play with sand castles or play with The King? Not a hard call.Anthony, in fact, is one of the few max-contract players who has declined winning. He visited Houston and the Lakers last year but chose New York.Otherwise, players are generally inclined to stay with their current teams, who can pay them more, for more years, under the Larry Bird rules. Or they go with winners. With San Antonio making a rare dip into free agency and creating the cap space, it’s difficult to see Aldridge signing anywhere else.Jordan? If he really wants to becoming a scoring option, he might have to leave the Clippers, but to where? Dallas does not have a point guard of note. The Lakers’ offense will be carried by Bryant, Russell and Randle, and Nick Young isn’t exactly a ball-mover.More likely Jordan will learn that Bryant and Michael Jordan also yelled at their teammates, sometimes more forcefully than Chris Paul does, and that Doc Rivers has been more patient with his free-throwing than any other coach would ever be.Although one would get a large kick out of hearing Clippers fans yell “Foul him!” if Jordan ever played for the visiting team.The Lakers might sign someone, but their chances appear better next season, provided Russell indeed becomes the passer that all scorers love. But the line of players who were supposedly hellbent on becoming Lakers stretches back to Ralph Sampson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Dominique Wilkins.Blame it on Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, the Romulus and Remus of the modern NBA. They were the first to take fewer dollars in order to lure better teammates. They started this fixation with winning. They can also tell you how long it took to build, or rebuild, Rome. If NBA players are avoiding the Lakers for the same reasons they once flocked to them, it is not a world crisis.It does not rise to the level of peas in guacamole, or where a baseball executive prefers to keep his decimal points. Actually, it dignifies the modern hoop star. It means he wants to win.Nineteen years ago, Shaquille O’Neal signed with the Lakers because of Jerry West and the chance to make bad movies, but also because he could win a title, since the Lakers had won 53 games the year before. Three seasons later, with Phil Jackson on board, it happened, and then two more titles happened.LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe and DeAndre Jordan were wooed by a franchise that won 21 games last season. They don’t need the standings to know. They saw the chalk outline themselves, at court level. A stopover at Jack Nicholson’s house, or all the Pink’s Hot Dogs they can eat, can only go so far. They want to win while they’re young.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more