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Wildhack confirms Babers to return as Syracuse football coach in 2022

By Eric Reinhardt (


Syracuse University Director of Athletics John Wildhack (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse University (SU) head football coach Dino Babers will return for the 2022 football season, SU Director of Athletics John Wildhack said during a Monday morning news conference.

The Orange lost their final three football games, including Saturday’s 31-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers in the home finale.

Syracuse ended the season at 5-7, falling one game short of bowl eligibility after going 1-10 in 2020. It was Babers’ fifth losing season in six years of leading the program.

“We’re disappointed how the season ended,” Wildhack said to open his media briefing. “The last three games were tough, and I respect that emotions are running high.”

Wildhack spoke a day after Babers announced that offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and assistant coaches Reno Ferri and Vinson Reynolds would return to the staff next season. Babers also said that defensive coordinator Tony White and offensive-line coach Mike Schmidt would return for the 2022 season.

When asked how finances and paying a buyout for Babers factored into his decision, Wildhack said, “None … I mean buyouts are a part of college football in 2021. That’s part of the environment of college football. Had no impact whatsoever.”

Wildhack also provided a brief assessment of how the 2021 season unfolded.

Dino Babers, head football coach at Syracuse University, will return to lead the program for the 2022 season. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ file photo)

“Overall, I’m pleased with how this team competed this season. We saw growth in a number of areas … with our running game. The emergence of Sean Tucker who’s as good a running back as there is in the country and should be a first team All-American,” Wildhack said.

He noted the play of the offensive line and said the defense improved “dramatically” this season, despite losing three starters in the secondary to the NFL. He also acknowledged the defense needs additional improvement.

Syracuse has the “potential” to have 18 of 22 starters return next year, which would provide the program a “terrific nucleus to build upon,” he contended.

“I met with Coach Babers multiple times over the past several weeks. Given those factors, I believe the best decision is for him to continue to lead this program. Our young men respect Coach Babers and they play hard for him,” Wildhack said.

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