New York State In-depth

Syracuse Football: A look at some possible substitutes for Nick Monroe

Now that it’s reported that the Syracuse Orange cornerbacks coach and longtime recruiting guru is heading home to Minnesota after impressing them during the pinstripe bowl, I think it’s time to look at some options with which Rocky Long can fill the gap. Monroe is leaving to take on a co-defensive coordinator role with the Gophers, having been part of Dino Babers’ staff since his Bowling Green days and before that with Colgate, so spent a long time in Central New York.

Some of these are swings for the fences and there is no preferred order but more research flow. Note that finding a defensive defense coach is much easier than a recruitment guru…

Rocky Long Coaching Tree:

Demetrius Sumler-San Diego State Safety

Sumler is the current safety coach at SDSU, staying after Brady Hoke Long took over when he retired in 2020. He was in this position for five years, before that a long time. He would be a solid development of talent, but his recruiting prowess is mentioned in his bio as Inland Empire and Arizona, which doesn’t help us much.

Kurt Mattix – San Diego State DC

Acquired Aztec for Long as DC when he retired and is a student of the 3-3-5, continuing his use at SDSU under Hoke. He also has recruiting experience from Florida and the Midwest, with roots in Tennessee and coaching stints mid-country to Michigan. If this is a situation where you can convince a rising star to pay a guy to take over Long in a couple of years, it’s not a bad option.

Danny Gonzales – New Mexico head coach

A huge long-range shot, but if he gets sacked after a dismal couple of straight seasons (2-5, 3-9, 2-10) in New Mexico, he may have to fall back as position coach. His old pal Rocky Long needs secondary specialists, and Gonzales trained with Long as a cornerbacks coach for a long time until he got the UNM appearance. If he needs a safety net, there’s not much to complain about if he wants to come here.

Ephraim Banda – Utah State DC

Banda may be a longshot as DC to position hiring coaches, but he’s also been a top recruiter since his Miami days, also having ACC experience. His stint on Manny Diaz’s staff and a peripheral connection to Long through Brady Anderson would make him a great option for the orange and a compliment to the staff. His classes for Miami, especially the DBs, were outstanding and would be a great addition to the Orange.

LaMarcus Hicks – Utah State CB

Under Brady Anderson, Long’s former assistant, Hicks is the current CB coach at Utah State. He was this side of the Rocky Mountains for a few stints in Bowling Green and Eastern Michigan.

Dino Baber’s coaching tree:

There’s not a lot of juice to squeeze here. He brought most of the “Familia” with him, and of those he didn’t have, Mike Mickens is Notre Dame’s CB coach, Nick Caley coaches tight ends with the Patriots, and Ryan Downard is the safety coach at Green Bay.

Sean Lewis’ stint at Kent State gives options for Jason Makrinos, a Pennsylvania man who was his safety coach and joined NC A&T after Lewis left for Colorado, and CJ Cox, who joined the new after Lewis’ departure Kent workforce remained .

Other options:

Dominique Bowman – Arkansas CB

While Bowman has no real connection with the staff, he has just parted ways with the Arkansas team to pursue other opportunities, meaning he is one hot coach to be in the market right now. Definitely worth a chat to see if he’d like to hang out up north for a bit. He has worked in Barry Odom’s Drop 8 system for a number of years, which may reflect the 3-3-5 system’s heavy emphasis on DB play and the need for development.

Chris Hampton – Tulane DC

It wouldn’t be uncommon for a G5 DC to move to a P5 positional coach, but we’re unlikely to pay them for sure. He is a strong up-and-coming candidate and was DBs coach prior to DC for the Wave. He also has ACC coaching experience at Duke. If there’s a “DC in Waiting” shot under Long, maybe give it a call.

Dre Bly-UNZ CB

Bly and UNC recently “broke up” because his position group didn’t find success on the ground, but he’s a proven ace recruiter in ACC territory who could pay dividends. He played his college ball at UNC and returned to coaching after more than a decade in the NFL.


Hell, Bronco Mendenhall coached under Rocky Long in New Mexico from 1998 to 2002 before heading to BYU for the next 13 seasons. Maybe we can call there?

It’s all a bit of a bummer at this point and we don’t know who, what or how these calls are being made, but it’s always fun to speculate, isn’t it?

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