Dec. 29, 2004 wire reports

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse fired football coach Paul Pasqualoni on Wednesday, eight days after a 37-point loss in a bowl game -- and less than a month after giving him a vote of confidence.


Chancellor Nancy Cantor announced Dec. 6 that Pasqualoni would return for his 15th season with Syracuse, but 11 days later Daryl Gross was hired as athletic director and the Orange's humbling 51-14 loss to Georgia Tech in the Champs Sports Bowl apparently sealed Pasqualoni's fate.

The decision to fire Pasqualoni was made by Gross.

Pasqualoni was 107-59-1 and 6-3 in bowl games at Syracuse. But the Orange struggled to break even the last three years after going 10-3 and finishing 14th in the nation in 2001.

Outgoing athletic director Jake Crouthamel, who hired Pasqualoni to replace Dick MacPherson, gave his coach a positive evaluation after the Orange upset then-No. 17 Boston College in the season finale. That vaulted Syracuse into a four-way tie for the Big East championship and made the Orange eligible to play in the postseason.

The Orange, 4-8 in 2002 and 6-6 each of the last two years, began this season with a 51-0 loss at Purdue on national television. It was Syracuse's most lopsided season-opening defeat in the program's 112-year history. The Orange seemed to bottom out with their second straight loss at lowly Temple, a team with a total of 13 Big East wins that has been booted out of the conference.

Dwindling home attendance also became a factor. For the five home games this season, the Orange averaged just over 37,000, about three-quarters of capacity in the 49,000-seat Carrier Dome and nearly 10,000 fewer than 1998, Donovan McNabb's final college season.

Since McNabb left for the NFL after the 1998 season, the Orange have an overall record of 39-33 and 21-20 in the Big East Conference and lost regular-season games to Big East also-ran Rutgers, along with Temple.

Pasqualoni departs as the second-winningest coach in school history, behind only Ben Schwartzwalder, who had 153 wins.

The Associated Press News Service

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