The ACC School Mount Rushmores: Syracuse
The Confidential has been having some fun with league-wide coaches Mount Rushmores. Football and Basketball, plus polls for each of football and basketball to share your thoughts. In fact, it was so sufficiently fun and controversial that we are going to do school-wide Mount Rushmores now. And we will only put three people on the list, leaving you–our readers–to comment as to who should be the fourth. We will not do polls anymore. For today, let’s go with the school that has been with the ACC a very short time: Syracuse.
As we discussed previously, these school-wide Mount Rushmores are limited to sports only–players and coaches. That being said, athletes that have gone on to have careers that have furthered their legend are rewarded also. And negative publicity will also be factored in. We do not believe that USC would put OJ Simpson on its Mount Rushmore. It is what it is. Admittedly, there will be a recency bias too. While historical accomplishments are typically quite impressive, coaching college football (as an example) in 1955 was a lot different than coaching today, where coaches rarely get 5 years to make their mark anymore. Similarly, in an era of up to 14 college football games or 40 college basketball games, as well as daunting pressure from the fans and media, today’s game is more challenging. That’s our opinion and we are sticking to it.
The Confidential gives the first spot to Jim Boeheim. As we have heard 1,000 too many times from an ever-creepier Dick Vitale, Boeheim overachieved in landing his wife–but we still have to put his mug on the Mount Rushmore. The guy has spent 50+ years at Syracuse in one capacity or another–from player to assistant coach to head coach to legend. Only Coach K has more hoops wins than Mr. Boeheim. But it is much more than wins, Boeheim is the consummate ambassador for Syracuse. While he occasionally mutters the regrettable comment, people want to hear what he has to say because it is usually wise and informative.
The #2 spot for Syracuse goes to a football player: Jim Brown. Brown was an all-everything performer at Syracuse–football, basketball, and lacrosse. And he is considered by many to be the greatest running back in NFL history–perhaps even the greatest player ever. Media? Sure, Jim Brown was an actor too. And while we often criticize players like Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan who shy away from controversial/racial issues, Jim Brown has always been willing to speak up about issues. He is someone Syracuse fans can be proud of.
The #3 spot is (and the 4th spot will be) exceptionally difficult. Syracuse is a football school that just happens to have an elite basketball program and accompanying fan base, while also ranking as one of the few giants in lacrosse. The options for these spots are endless. How can you not have a lacrosse icon? Well, Jim Brown is considered by some to be one of the greatest lacrosse players ever too. So there is that. In the end, although this will be controversial, the Confidential is going to go with Dave Bing. Bing is in the discussion for best Syracuse basketball player ever. He did more in three seasons than most players do in four. He also had a nice NBA career and then business success. Granted, nobody was going to solve Detroit’s problems, but Bing stepped up to the plate to try. The next bad thing I hear about Dave Bing will be the first.
And that leads us to the number four spot. Get ready for a ridiculous list: Ben Schwartzwalder, Dick MacPherson, Donovan McNabb, Ernie Davis, Larry Csonka, Floyd Little, Tim Green, Derrick Coleman, Sherman Douglas, Carmelo Anthony, Gerry McNamara, Rony Seikaly, Gary Gait, Mike Powell, Roy Simmons. It goes on and on. So that is where you come in–let us know who should be #4.
Who will be the Confidential’s fourth Syracuse Orange in its Mount Rushmore?
Other Mount Rushmores:
I think Boeheim should also be on the college basketball coaches Mt Rushmore with Wooden, Rupp and Dean Smith.
I can’t decide between Dick MacPherson and Don McPherson.
One on hand, Coach Mac helped bring SU football back to relevancy in the 80’s and early 90’s, but a large part of that was Don McPherson at QB – who arguably should have won the Heisman trophy in ’87.
Both should have won a National Championship that year but for Pat Dye (who chose to go for a tie in the Sugar Bowl because he refused to lose to a team who would quick-kick on 3rd down), and both are in the College Football Hall of Fame.
Given Don McPherson’s active involvement against domestic violence, he would be provide balance with Jim Brown.
It should be Ernie Davis…end of discussion. Thanks for playing.
Ben Schwartzwalder, no need to list anyone else. When he came to Syracuse the University had been considering dropping football, by 1959 the second string was getting votes as the second best team in the county.
As a Syracuse native, I’d go with Boeheim, Schwartzwalder, Ernie Davis (first black Heisman Trophy winner, star of the ’59 national champions) and Jim Brown (the greatest all-around athlete in SU history).
Also, I would recommend that Syracuse’s Mt. Rushmore be carved into the side of Syracuse’s Mt. Olympus.
National titles – Schwartzwalder, Davis, Brown and Anthony
Meant to type Boeheim not Brown – just always have been a big Jim Brown fan
Tough call. Hard to against Gary Gait, probably the greatest lacrosse player in history/ In football, it is hard to overlook Ernie Davis (although I am a big Don McPherson fan). In basketball, Pearl Washington is tough to overlook as the most important recruit in Jim Boeheim’s career and arguably the best player. But, then it is painful to overlook Derrick Coleman and Sherman Douglas (I would add Carmelo Anthony to that last, but he did only play one year). It is a killer question. Ultimately, it would likely come down to Gait or Davis. Can’t make that call.
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