Dec. 13, 2008

(AP) - Syracuse turned to a former team captain to help turn around its football fortunes. Bowling Green wasn't in such dire straits, but the Falcons made a change anyway - nabbing Tennessee's former offensive coordinator to perk up a program that had stalled.

With two more coaches hired Friday, Army created another opening, firing Stan Brock after a pair of 3-9 seasons and a blowout loss to Navy.

After four years under former NFL assistant Greg Robinson, the Orange turned again to the pro ranks, hiring New Orleans offensive coordinator Doug Marrone, a three-year letterman at Syracuse under former coach Dick MacPherson in the mid-1980s.

Like most alums, he's hoping for a quick rebound for the Orange, who haven't had a winning season since 2001. Robinson was fired in November after going 10-37 in four seasons.

"We need everyone to believe," Marrone said. "We need the alumni, we need the fans. I love the people here."

The team's poor performance under Robinson, who had three offensive coordinators in his four seasons, hurt the school financially. In 21 homes games over his first three seasons, more than 260,000 seats were not sold, average attendance fell to a 21-year low in 2007, and attendance numbers again were abysmal in 2008.

"For me to sit here and say that Doug Marrone is the right guy is what I would love to say, but I can't say that because I don't know at this point if Doug is the right guy for Syracuse football," said Tim Green, a close friend of Marrone's in college who was on the search committee. "This is a daunting task that he's going to face. It's one of the most difficult things in the world of sports, to take a college football program that's down and resurrect it."

The group that helped select the 44-year-old Marrone also included former Syracuse players Art Monk, Don McPherson and Floyd Little.

Bowling Green hadn't fallen on such hard times - the Falcons went to bowls in three of the past six seasons. But Gregg Brandon was cut loose after going 44-30.

The 41-year-old Dave Clawson is used to more success than that. He led Richmond to the national semifinals in 2007.

After going 3-8 in 2004, the Spiders went 9-4 and made the playoffs the following year. Last season, Richmond was beaten in the semifinals by eventual champion Appalachian State.

"Dave's experience as a head coach impressed all of us. Not just the winning records, but all aspects of how he ran his programs," said Bowling Green athletic director Greg Christopher.

He achieved his goal of becoming a head coach even though Tennessee's offense struggled this season, ranking near the bottom of all major college teams in total offense.

Brock, a former NFL offensive lineman, was Army's offensive line coach for three years before replacing Bobby Ross in early 2007. He had no previous Division I college coaching experience.

"I was disappointed with the results on the field, with the Rutgers game and the game against Navy," athletic director Kevin Anderson said. "That was an eye-opening experience. I thought that we had made progress. I thought we had narrowed the gap between the talent levels."

The Black Knights lost 34-0 to Navy, ending a trying season that included a 30-3 drubbing at the hands of Rutgers.

Brock was 6-18 record in two years, going 3-9 each season. He was told of the decision after a short meeting with Anderson, who did an earlier evaluation, made some recommendations, and gave Brock time to think about them.

"I believe that if we could have come to a common ground, the decision that I made could have been different," Anderson said. "There were many areas we had a difference of philosophy. I didn't think we could win."