Syracuse has fired defensive coordinator Brian Ward, the program announced Sunday. Defensive ends coach Steve Stanard has been named interim defensive coordinator.
“I want to thank Coach Ward for everything he’s done for Syracuse University and this football team,” Dino Babers said in a statement. “However, I felt a change needed to be made at this time to give us the best opportunity for success moving forward. Coach Stanard is an experienced defensive coach. He’s been here for three years now and understands the culture of our program. I’m confident in his ability to lead that side of the ball.”
The Orange entered 2019 with eyes on an ACC title, but reality has been far short of that. Syracuse is 3-6 on the year and 0-5 in ACC play. Saturday stood as a low point in a low season, as Boston College rushed for 496 yards and gained 691 total in a 58-27 triumph.
This season’s struggles aside, this is a surprising move. Ward is well-regarded in the profession and was in the mix for some head coaching jobs following Syracuse’s 10-win season in 2018.
Stanard has more than 20 years’ experience as a defensive coordinator, beginning at Nebraska Wesleyan in 1991. He has also run defenses for South Dakota, New Mexico State, Colorado State, Tulane and, most recently, Wyoming, where he was defensive coordinator from 2014-16.
Ward, the former head coach at his alma mater – McPherson College, had served as defensive coordinator at Drake, Western Illinois and Bowling Green before going with Babers to Syracuse in the same capacity. He’s a football coach. He’ll land somewhere and be just fine.
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