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Dick MacPherson, 86, Dies; Revived Football at Syracuse – New York Times

MacPherson was born in Old Town, Me., on Nov. 4, 1930. He was a three-sport star in high school and played football at Springfield College in Massachusetts before serving in the Air Force during the Korean War.

After working as an assistant with the Denver Broncos from 1967 to 1970, he became head coach at the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst, where he remained for seven years before returning to pro football in 1978 as linebackers coach for the Cleveland Browns.

He left the Browns to become Syracuse’s head coach. His career college coaching record at Syracuse and UMass was 111-73-5.

Although he adopted Syracuse as his second home, he seized the opportunity to become head coach of the Patriots in 1991. But his tenure there was brief: He was fired in January 1993 after compiling a 6-24 record over two seasons and retired from coaching.

MacPherson is survived by his wife, Sandra; his daughters, Maureen and Janet; and four grandchildren. His grandsons, Macky and Cameron, played football at Syracuse, where Macky is currently in his second season as a graduate assistant coach.

Of all the games MacPherson coached, the Sugar Bowl tie with Auburn, spoiling an undefeated season, may have rankled him the most. The game ended when coach Pat Dye of Auburn decided to attempt a 30-yard field goal with four seconds left rather than try to win the game with a touchdown. The kick was successful, tying the score at 16-16.

MacPherson was bitter about the rival coach’s call. “What did they come here for in the first place?” he said. He added, “I gotta believe his menu was to stop us from being 12-0.”

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