Former SU football coach Dick MacPherson passes away

Grandsons reflect on Coach Mac's legacy: By Monica Ortiz

Richard F. "Dick" MacPherson, a former Syracuse head football coach, passed away on August 8. He was 86.

Coach MacPherson, known by many as "Coach Mac", won 66 games in nine years at the helm of the program. Some of his most notable accomplishments included a 17-9 victory over No.1 Nebraska in 1984, four bowl wins, and an undefeated season in 1987.

Coach Mac led Syracuse to eleven wins that season, including wins against West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Penn State. In the Sugar Bowl, The Orange tied 16-16 against Auburn.

The news of his passing shook the sporting community with both current and former Syracuse connections reacting to the news. 

Current men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim took to Twitter to express his thoughts.



Daryl Johnston, a former Syracuse football player under Coach Mac, shared his connection with his former coach.


When Macky and Cameron MacPherson gathered at Ensley Athletic Center the next day, emotions ran high. They knew the impact Coach Mac had on the Syracuse community.

Macky spent time reflecting on a memory that stood out for him about his grandfather.

"To say that you are going to have just one memory that's going to stand out, it would be impossible for me to say that right now," Macky said.

"We've got so many, from when I was a little kid playing catch down in Florida with him, or him throwing us into the pool, or teaching me how to golf, up to just this past year. When I left the NFL and got cut by the Bills, the first thing he did was tell me he was proud of me," Macky said.

Cameron took his time sharing his thoughts. He played with Syracuse from 2015-2016 and is currently finishing his graduate degree at Syracuse University.

"He was shaped by football in many ways and he wanted us to learn many of those same lessons through the sport," Cameron said.

"He was larger than life, and a man of such integrity and character. Someone I looked up to and emulate in who I become."

Calling hours will take place August 10 from 5-8 p.m., and a service takes place August 11 at 2 p.m. Both take place at Hendricks Chapel.

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