Syracuse University names new director of athletics: USC Senior Associate Athletic Director Dr. Daryl J. Gross
Syracuse University names new director of athletics: USC Senior Associate Athletic Director Dr. Daryl J. GrossDecember 18, 2004Sue Cornelius Edsonsedson@syr.edu
During his 14 years in athletic administration at the University of Southern California, Daryl Gross has savored the sweet flavor of success: The Trojans have won 15 national and more than 30 Pac-10 championships, fielded 145 Olympians, and finished almost every year in the top 10 of the Sears Directors’ Cup all-sports rankings.
And in the last three seasons, the university’s signature program, football, has dressed two Heisman Trophy winners and won a national championship, and on Jan. 4 will reach for a second consecutive title at the FedEx Orange Bowl.
Yes, Daryl Gross has tasted success. Now he’s packing up the recipe book and heading east, intent on adding a new ingredient-Orange.
Gross, senior associate athletic director at USC, has been named the new director of athletics at Syracuse University. Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor announced his appointment at a press conference today. Gross will succeed Jake Crouthamel, who is retiring after 27 years at the helm of SU athletics.
Gross, 43, is well prepared for his new position. At USC, he directs coaching searches and contract discussions, serves as the department’s media spokesman, leads marketing and corporate sponsorship efforts, negotiates television contracts, devises football and men’s basketball schedules, jointly oversees student-athlete academic services, and directly supervises 10 of the university’s 19 intercollegiate sports programs, among other responsibilities.
“Daryl embodies exactly the qualities we are looking for,” says Chancellor Cantor. “He has shown a depth of experience and leadership at USC and-in obtaining both his master’s and doctorate-a great appreciation and understanding of academics. This speaks well of his ability to lead a top-notch athletics program and work closely with academic partners in the institution.
“Further, he has an extraordinary track record in marketing, fund raising and community engagement. He has had tremendous success in assessing revenue and Olympic sports, in recruiting top coaches, and in working with academic and student affairs staff on student-athlete development. I am confident that he will fit in perfectly with the senior leadership team of the University and contribute a great deal to the life of the institution and our community.”
“Whenever I hear the name Syracuse University, I think of greatness,” Gross says. “It has a phenomenal history. When I arrived at Southern California 14 years ago, it was a program that once was one of the greatest of all time, but it had lost a bit of its luster. We have brought it back to where we have won 15 national championships. This is what I want to build at Syracuse. And I’m not just referring to men’s basketball, football and lacrosse, but all of the athletics programs.”
Among Gross’ most important duties at USC has been identifying top coaching talent. He has just completed the search for a new men’s basketball coach, landing widely respected and successful former University of Utah head coach Rick Majerus. In 2001, Gross led the effort to sign longtime NFL coach Pete Carroll, who is 41-9 with four bowl appearances in four years as head of the USC football program. Gross’ searches have also produced women’s volleyball coach Mick Haley, track and field coach Ron Allice, and men’s and women’s water polo coach Jovan Vavic, all of whom, like Carroll, have won national championships and been named national coach of the year in their respective sports.
“I look for coaches who are the best in the business,” Gross says. “The first thing I look for is how great are they at teaching their subject matter. The most critical attribute for a coach is to be a great educator. It’s so important.
“The four principles that I use as a foundation for assessing talent are: win championships, graduate student-athletes, be compliance perfect, and be fiscally sound,” he says. “We want coaches and staff to have the fire to get this done.”
“I am thrilled that Daryl will be our new athletics director as he brings a level of knowledge and experience that will add to the excitement of SU athletics nationally,” says Michael Dritz, vice chair of the SU Board of Trustees. “I am confident that he will be a significant factor in our recruiting capability and national rankings.”
“The AD search was thorough, and we cast a wide net to attract the very best candidates,” says search committee chair Michael Wasylenko, professor of economics and senior associate dean of SU’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. “Daryl stood out among the highly qualified individuals we interviewed. We discussed many candidates, and in the end the choice was clear and unanimous.”
“The University conducted a national search and has been rewarded with finding an outstanding administrator who can bring tremendous enthusiasm, vision and direction to our athletics program,” says SU head men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim.
“Daryl has a wealth of experience at the highest level of competitive athletics. We are fortunate to hire someone with energy and enthusiasm to continue the outstanding tradition of Syracuse University athletics,” says SU head football coach Paul Pasqualoni.
“I am excited about the new energy he can bring to our department and our University. He seems like the person who can take on the challenges we face moving forward,” says head men’s lacrosse coach John Desko. “I am impressed that he took the time to seek out the lacrosse coach and that he has knowledge of the Syracuse lacrosse tradition.”
Gross holds both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in educational psychology from USC, as well as a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California at Davis, where he was a football wide receiver from 1979 to 1981, catching passes from future New York Jets quarterback (and later USC football assistant coach) Ken O’Brien.
From 1982 to 1985, he was on the UC Davis football coaching staff; in 1985, the Aggies were the nation’s No. 1 Division II team. He also was the assistant men’s tennis coach.
In 1986 and 1987, Gross was a grad assistant at USC, working with quarterbacks and wide receivers. From 1989 to 1991, he was a personnel scout for the New York Jets.
Gross joined USC’s athletic administration as an assistant athletic director in 1991, overseeing five sports teams as well as the athletic training room and the student-athlete insurance program. He also directed searches for the hiring of coaches; was the drug-testing coordinator and drug awareness and counseling liaison; directed the Degree Achievement and Former Athlete Degree Achievement programs; directed the Professional Sports Advisement Committee; coordinated Amateur Athletic Foundation youth camps; and served as USC’s senior administrator at Pac-10 Conference winter meetings.
In 1995, Gross was promoted to associate athletic director. From 1997 to 2000, he also held the post of interim director of Student Athlete Academic Services. In this role Gross restructured all programming related to academic support for student-athletes. He designed and implemented a certified tutorial program, instituted a compliance-oriented system, and hired supervisors and counselors to handle the program’s daily operations. He also integrated Student Athlete Academic Services with the campus Learning Skills Center.
Gross was named a senior associate athletic director in 2002. In addition to the aforementioned responsibilities in his role as senior associate athletic director, Gross led USC athletics’ corporate sponsorship program to record revenues of more than $4 million in 2004, a mark that is projected to be surpassed in 2005. He headed a football marketing effort that broke the all-time attendance record in 2003 and has again in 2004.
Gross has also assisted in the undertaking of the biggest building program in the history of USC athletics, including a new track stadium; expansion of the tennis stadium and the football practice field; a new women’s soccer field; and construction of the $70 million Galen Center, projected to open in spring 2006 and become home to the USC men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball programs.