Last Friday, I quickly posted an item on Syracuse hiring three assistants. The few folks who commented on the post yawned. But something escaped me that was brought to our attention by the Post-Standard this past weekend.
The Orange hired Steve Scarnecchia as its new video coordinator, and that is nothing to yawn at. As Dave Rahme points out, Scarnecchia was fired from the Denver Broncos last year after he admitted video taping a San Francisco 49ers walkthrough before their game in London, a huge no-no in the NFL. Then-coach Josh McDaniels and the team were each fined $50,000 and blamed Scarnecchia, saying they had no idea what Scarnecchia had done.
In fact, it later emerged that Scarnecchia was a repeat offender, having also gotten into trouble when he was a member of the New England Patriots' video staff earlier in his career. You know, the Spygate staff.
So the natural question is this: Why on earth would Syracuse coach Marrone hire somebody who has broken rules, not once, but several times? Marrone told the Post-Standard, "I am 100 percent certain he is the right man for this job." He then added:
"Steve knows he made a mistake. He acknowledged his mistake and faced the consequences. I am convinced that he has learned his lesson. Steve is a Syracuse University graduate, and I am thrilled to have him back at his alma mater."
I am all for giving second chances, but I am not quite sure about this decision. On the one hand, you have to figure that Scarnecchia will be on his best behavior because if he violates rules, not only would he never get another job again, but he has the potential to get Syracuse into trouble.
But on the other hand, can you trust a man who has violated NFL policy at two different jobs? Especially when trust is of vital importance in the landscape of college football today, where we have seen rogue coaches and players acting on their own to the detriment of their programs? I am not accusing Scarnecchia of anything here, but his past alone is enough to give anybody pause about hiring him.
Marrone says he spoke extensively to Scarnecchia about what happened in his past and believes he deserves another chance. The head coach obviously has the right to make this decision, but there is no question he is putting himself on the line with this hire. Scarnecchia has to prove Marrone right.