SYRACUSE, NY (AP) — Several hours after announcing the hiring of New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone as his new head football coach, Syracuse University’s Director of Athletics His Royal Highness Dr. Daryl Gross confirmed that he had just concluded an interview with Boise State head coach Chris Petersen, and had lined up several more interviews to be held in the coming weeks.
“Just because we’ve hired Doug doesn’t mean the search has ended,” Gross said in an unsolicited phone call to ESPN. “There are a lot of qualified candidates still out there.”
Gross stated that he’d been wanting to interview Petersen for months, and when the coach declined last week to take a job at Mississippi State, Gross immediately set up the interview.
“I’m not going to confirm or deny that I have or haven’t offered anyone the job, except to Doug Marrone,” Gross said. “The fact that Marrone has taken the job does not change my desire to make Syracuse a perennial contender for the BCS Championship. I’ve made it clear in the past that everybody’s a candidate. That doesn’t change just because we hired someone. I’m going to keep looking until I’ve found the right guy — that way, I can keep you all hanging on my every word and get more stories about me in the press. Plus, I get to keep holding five-hour long lunch ‘interviews’ and charging the bill to the General Operating Fund.”
Gross has been a target of mounting criticism from the Syracuse community in the weeks since incumbent head football coach Greg Robinson was fired. Gross had stated before the season that, should Robinson be let go, Syracuse would get the “first pick” of coaching candidates. This comment became a focal point of critics as candidate after candidate, including potential “first pick” superstar coaches like Temple coach Al Golden, expressed disinterest in the position. In his statement, Gross stuck by his claim.
“We’re definitely going to get the first pick,” Gross said. “That’s how it works in sports — the worst team the previous year gets the first pick. I know how sports work because I am a Director of Athletics.”
In addition to Petersen, Gross revealed that in the near future he is planning to interview current Akron Zips wide receivers coach Mauro Monz, current Syracuse Express head coach David Johnson, current Kansas City Royals hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and legendary Chicago Bears head coach George Halas (deceased).
Marrone was unavailable for comment.