SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Former Syracuse football coach Dick MacPherson has died at 86.

The university said he died Tuesday in a Syracuse hospital with his family at his side. Cause of death was not released.

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MacPherson resurrected a declining football program in the 1980s and restored Syracuse to national prominence before returning to the NFL.

Known for his jocular personality and off-beat comments, MacPherson arrived at Syracuse before the 1981 season. The Orange has slumped through a decade of mediocrity, with only three winning seasons. In 1959, Syracuse was the undefeated national champion. Between 1967 and MacPherson’s arrival, the Orange made only one bowl trip.

After two seasons of transition, MacPherson produced a winning team in 1983. By the time he left in 1990, he had a 66-46-4 record, the school’s second-winningest coach.