Every fan base has its list of former players, coaches, or opponents who will forever be known as enemies of the program. Some of the hatred was born through rivalry, some through futility, and some through circumstance.
Syracuse fans can probably all agree on a few things: John Thompson is a prick, Pat Dye is a chicken, Greg Robinson is an awful coach, and T.J. Sorrentine’s shot “from the parking lot” still haunts them. Don’t believe me? Ask one yourself. Here’s why:
#4 – T.J. Sorrentine – Syracuse had an up-and-down 2004-2005 season, but after winning the Big East Tournament, the Orangemen (at the time) were awarded a 4-seed and pitted against America East representative Vermont in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
Taylor Coppenrath was supposed to be the Catamounts’ best player, but someone else stole the spotlight; T.J. Sorrentine. Both teams were offensively challenged much of the game, and after the Orange couldn’t win it in regulation, Sorrentine made them pay in the extra period. Ill-advised shot? Sure.
But when he made it, he made SU a punching line.
#3 – Greg Robinson – Darryl Gross, Syracuse’s AD, fired former coach Paul Pasqualoni after the 2004 season because he thought the program was headed in the wrong direction after a blowout loss in the Champs Sports Bowl.
His replacement, Greg Robinson, didn’t make Gross look like a smart man. Robinson was supposedly a defensive guru, the architect of a Denver Broncos defense that won two Super Bowl in the late 1990s.
Something didn’t translate. Robinson’s first season at the helm brought a 1-10 record, with zero Big East wins. In fact, in the four years Robinson lasted as head coach, he only won three Big East games total. Mention the “G-Rob” era to any Cuse fans and watch their eyes roll.
#2 – Pat Dye – Yes, it’s hard to believe that at any point in history Syracuse was ranked higher than the SEC Champion, but that was the case in 1988 when No. 4 Syracuse took on No. 6 Auburn in the Sugar Bowl.
After a back-and-forth game that featured way more field goals than touchdowns, Auburn trailed 16-13 with 1 second to go on the Syracuse 13-yard line. Dye chose for his Tigers to kick a field goal to tie the game up. No problem, right?
Problem. Prior to 1996, there was no overtime in college football. So when Dye chose to kick the field goal, he was playing for a tie, something bound to make fans and the opposition irate. When the kick went through, Syracuse and Auburn had officially tied in the Sugar Bowl.
While the decision ensured Syracuse would stay undefeated, it obviously was met with much criticism from Orange supporters who had National Championship dreams. To this day, Pat Dye isn’t a very popular man in upstate New York.
#1 – John Thompson – Expecting someone else? Sure, it’s a given that Syracuse and Georgetown are big-time rivals. But how/why?
In its last game of the 1980 season, SU took on Georgetown at Manley Field House, it’s old stomping grounds. The Orangemen had won their last 57 games at home, and with the Carrier Dome just about finished being built, the game was the last to-be-played at Manley.
Syracuse blew a lead late in the second half, allowing Georgetown to crawl back and win 52-50. John Thompson, apparently excited about what the Hoyas had accomplished, grabbed the microphone and declared that “Manley Field House is officially closed.” Whoa. Rivalry born.
While Thompson hasn’t coached the Hoyas since 1999, there were certainly enough moments over the years to declare that he’s still the most hated man in Syracuse.