College Football

Syracuse says coach Dino Babers returning in 2022

(AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

By JOHN KEKIS

AP Sports Writer

Coach Dino Babers will return for the 2022 season, his seventh, Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said Monday.

The announcement came a day after Babers fired three assistants, including offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert after just two seasons.

Syracuse finished 5-7 overall and 2-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the fifth losing season in six years under Babers but an improvement over the 10-loss team of 2020. The Orange lost their final three games this season to finish one victory shy of bowl eligibility.

"We're disappointed how this season ended. The last three games were tough and I respect that emotions are running high," Wildhack said at a news conference. "Overall, I'm pleased with how this team competed this season. We saw growth in a number of areas."

Wildhack said he met with Babers several times over the past few weeks and had been evaluating the team since spring football.

"Our young men respect coach Babers and they play hard for him," Wildhack said. "We all know what the expectations are for 2022. We need to win more games. We want to play that 13th game."

Babers received a contract extension after the 2018 season that goes beyond next year. Wildhack said a buyout was not a factor in his decision.

Babers has a 29-43 record at Syracuse with only one winning season, a 10-victory campaign in 2018 that included a bowl win over West Virginia and ended with the Orange ranked No. 15. Syracuse finished 10-3 and was second in the Atlantic Division at 6-2, behind only eventual national champion Clemson.

"We want to be competitive in our division," Wildhack said. "If you're competitive in your division or at the top of your division in the ACC you're going to be relevant nationally, and we were. We were ranked. So we've done it. Now we need to get back to where we're on the right side of the ledger."

Babers retained defensive coordinator Tony White and offensive line coach Mike Schmidt, but he also fired tight ends coach Reno Ferri and defensive line coach Vinson Reynolds, who were on his original staff in 2016. The moves came in the wake of a 31-14 home loss to No. 20 Pittsburgh on Saturday night.

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Updated November 29, 2021

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