What do Syracuse and Pitt bring to the ACC?

September 19, 2011 

Staff writer Rick Bonnell looks at who gets what in Syracuse's and Pittsburgh's entry into the ACC:

The ACC gets:

Two great basketball schools with strong, if somewhat dated, football traditions. Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim has the second-most wins among active coaches (856, behind only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski) and Pitt's Jamie Dixon has won 20 games in each of his first seven seasons. Dixon has great recruiting connections in the New York City area.

Syracuse and Pittsburgh get:

An escape from the Big East, whose football relevance is eroding by the minute. The Big East is an uneasy confederacy of football and non-football schools, and it might be time to splinter the two factions permanently.

The TV story:

Obviously Pittsburgh is a major television market in a place where the ACC doesn't currently reside. Syracuse, through its alumni base, delivers the New York City market as well as just about any college program. However, Boston College never turned Boston into ACC territory, so there's only so much the Orange can deliver in terms of ratings shift.


Syracuse is a high-profile private university. The journalism school has produced numerous sports broadcasters including Marv Albert, Dick Stockton and Mike Tirico. Pittsburgh has evolved beyond a commuter school to become a solid research university.

Nonrevenue sports:

Syracuse has 10 national championships in lacrosse since 1983. Alonzo Webb has turned around men's and women's track and field at Pitt, winning three conference championships in eight seasons.

Famous athletes:

Pitt has Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Charles Smith and Jerome Lane. Syracuse has Jim Brown, Donovan McNabb, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Coleman.

Famous non-athletes:

For Syracuse, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. For Pitt, Adrian Cronauer, the disc jockey who inspired the movie "Good Morning, Vietnam."

A Syracuse did-you-know?

Boeheim, who has never coached at any school but his alma mater, has become the "zone guru" on Krzyzewski's Team USA coaching staffs. International play demands a nuanced understanding of zone defense, and Boeheim teaches it as well as anyone.

A Pittsburgh did-you-know?

Dixon's sister, Maggie, also was a major-college basketball coach, overseeing Army's women's team until her untimely death from an undiagnosed heart ailment in 2006.

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