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Dick MacPherson, former Syracuse football coach, dies at 86

Former Syracuse and Massachusetts coach Dick MacPherson laughs

Former Syracuse and Massachusetts coach Dick MacPherson laughs during the announcement of the 2009 College Football Hall of Fame class at NASDAQ Marketsite in New York. April 30, 2009. Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS / Kathy Willens

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.

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.

New York Sports