ESPN.com college football columnist Ivan Maisel profiles new Syracuse coach Scott Shafer, who waited years for his first head-coaching opportunity.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Scott Shafer remembers standing on the pregame field at Notre Dame Stadium in 1991, his first game as a graduate assistant coach at Indiana, hearing his knees knock because Irish head coach Lou Holtz stood nearby. For a small-town (Painesville, Ohio) guy who played small-college football (Baldwin-Wallace), this was a dream come true.
"I remember just being in the fight mentally," the new Syracuse head coach said of the Hoosiers' 49-27 loss.
"Even though I didn't have a big pull in the outcome, I remember just looking around, thinking, 'It's the same game.' Whether we're playing in front of 1,500 people at George Finnie Stadium [at Baldwin-Wallace], or sitting there in the mecca of college football at Notre Dame. Same game."
That perspective has been the lighthouse of Shafer's career. Shafer invests his ego into coaching his players, reminding himself of the absurdity of his job.
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