Beloved former Syracuse football coach Dick MacPherson dies

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Dick MacPherson, the celebrated former Syracuse football coach who restored the Orangemen to national prominence in the 1980s, has died at the age of 86.

We asked longtime voice of the Orange, Doug Logan, and his broadcast booth partner, Jim Ridlon, about Coach Mac's impact and what he was like as a man. Watch their extended comments in the video.

Known for his jocular personality and off-beat comments, MacPherson arrived at Syracuse before the 1981 season, not long after the opening of the Carrier Dome.

Mac kept recruiting and developing players, building an impressive coaching staff of future big names, and eventually conquered doubters with a 1987 undefeated season that saw some of the most cherished moments in Syracuse athletics history.

While MacPherson was coaching UMass, Syracuse was slumping through a mediocre 1970s, with only three winning seasons. In 1959, Syracuse was the undefeated national champion. Between 1967 and MacPherson's arrival, the Orange made only one bowl trip.

After two seasons of transition, MacPherson produced a winning team in 1983. By the time he left for the NFL's New England Patriots in 1990, he had a 66-46-4 record, the school's second-winningest coach.

MacPherson returned to Syracuse, where he provided color commentary on radio broadcasts and went on to watch two grandsons, Macky and Cameron MacPherson, play for the Orange.

The university said he died Tuesday in a Syracuse hospital with his family at his side. The cause of death was not released.

"During his tenure at Syracuse, MacPherson put together some of the most talented coaching staffs in the country," wrote SU's football program in a statement on its website. "He employed and mentored future college head coaches Gary Blackney (Bowling Green), Randy Edsall (Connecticut, Maryland), Jim Hofher (Cornell, Buffalo), Bill Maxwell (Hobart), George O'Leary (Georgia Tech, Central Florida), Paul Pasqualoni (Syracuse, Connecticut), and Jim Tressel (Youngstown State, Ohio State)."

Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim also tweeted his condolences.

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