Syracuse hired Bowling Green coach Dino Babers on Saturday to be its new coach, bringing his Baylor-style offense to the Carrier Dome.
Babers led the Falcons to a 34-14 victory on the Mid-American Conference championship on Friday night and has gone 18-9 in two seasons at Bowling Green. Before coaching in the MAC, Babers spent two seasons at Eastern Illinois and went 19-7 with two FCS playoff appearances.
"There were many coaching opportunities out there but none more attractive or exciting than this one," Babers said in a statement. "I've always admired Syracuse Football's scrappy demeanor, grit, and winning mentality, but what attracted me to this position even more is the University's intense focus on preparing its student-athletes for a lifetime of success. This is an incredible opportunity and one I am thrilled to have been offered."
The 54-year-old Babers spent 25 years as an assistant coach, including four seasons at Baylor (2008-11) under Art Briles. Babers' offense incorporates Baylor's up-tempo spread with pro-style principles. Bowling Green was fourth in the nation in total offense this season, averaging 561 yards,
"We wanted a leader who had a proven track record and a strong commitment to student welfare," said Syracuse athletic director Mark Coyle, who is in his first year at the school. "Dino's background as a former student-athlete combined with his head coaching experience, and dynamic offensive mind make him a great fit for our program. We are committed to building a winning Syracuse Football program and today reinforces that commitment."
Syracuse fired Scott Shafer before the final game of the season and the Orange finished 4-8. They have won only seven games combined the last two years, missing out on the postseason twice season moving into the Atlantic Coast Conference from the Big East.
The Orange are in need of a way to close the gap between themselves and Atlantic division powers Florida State and Clemson. Babers' offense, playing most of its games indoors or down South, could be just what Syracuse needs.
Babers will be introduced at a news conference Monday on campus.
He played running back for Hawaii (1979-83) and made 10 stops during his long career as an assistant coach, including Purdue, Arizona, Texas A&M and UCLA.
At Eastern Illinois he coached quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who won the Walter Payton Award as the top FCS player in 2013 and was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2014.
Bowling Green won division titles in both seasons with Babers as head coach and this season beat Maryland and Purdue. Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson averages 361 yards passing per game and has thrown 43 touchdowns.