Syracuse University football coach Dino Babers has fired defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Brian Ward, announcing the decision Sunday through a press release.
Defensive ends coach Steve Stanard will serve as interim defensive coordinator for the remainder of the season. The move came one day after the Orange suffered a 58-27 loss to Boston College in which the defense surrendered 496 rushing yards, the highest total in program history and the most allowed by an FBS defense this season.
SU (3-6 overall, 0-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) is on the bye this week and will return to play Nov. 16 at Duke in search of its first victory against an opponent from a power-five conference.
“I want to thank coach Ward for everything he’s done for Syracuse University and this football team,” Babers said in a released statement. “However, I felt a change needed to be made at this time to give us the best opportunity for success moving forward. Coach Stanard is an experienced defensive coach. He’s been here for three years now and understands the culture of our program. I’m confident in his ability to lead that side of the ball.”
Ward has led the SU defense during each of Babers’ four seasons as head coach, and was also the defensive coordinator/linebackers coach under Babers on his Bowling Green staff in 2015.
SU ranks No. 115 in the FBS in total defense, yielding 456 yards per game, while allowing an average of 30.7 points per game, which is tied for 91st in the nation in scoring defense.
Last year, SU finished third in the nation in turnovers gained (31), fifth in interceptions (18), and sixth in sacks per game (3.31). Ward was a nominee for the Broyles Award in 2017, which is presented to the nation’s top assistant coach.
Stanard is in the midst of his third season on the SU coaching staff and the former Nebraska standout that played from 1984-87 started his coaching career as a student assistant for the Huskers under coach Tom Osborne in 1988. He has served on a collegiate coaching staff every season since, including 20 years as a defensive coordinator.
Stanard most recently guided the defense at Wyoming from 2014-16 prior to joining Babers’ staff at SU, and also coached defenses at North Dakota State, Tulane, Ohio, Colorado State, New Mexico State, South Dakota, and Nebraska Wesleyan.