Family Members, SU Athletic Dept Remember Coach Mac for Integrity, Character more than Football

Aug 9, 2017

Coach Mac's off-the-field legacy strong

Syracuse University’s Athletic Department continues to reflect on the life and legacy of Dick MacPherson, who died Tuesday.  The department includes his grandsons, who offered some memories, along with the Athletic Director.  One quality they all seem to agree on is that Coach Mac was a genuine person who made everyone feel important, on and off the field.  Richard 'Macky' MacPherson says he was like a father and his interests went far beyond football.

Macky MacPherson is now a coach on the SU football team under Head Coach Dino Babers
Credit John Smith/WAER News

“We talked about gold more than we talked about football.  It was more morality, character, good judgment, working hard.  Those are things that I learned.  I didn’t learn how to snap a football from him.  I learned how to keep working at the things I needed to get better at.  He never coached me; he was always my grandfather.” 

MacPherson adds that former players have been reaching out to the family, expressing how much they loved him both as a coach and as a man. 

(More on Dick MacPherson's life and coaching legacy here)  

He’s grateful by the community’s outpouring of sympathy.

“It’s been such a nice thing to see that so many people thought so highly of him.  I think if everyone can try to achieve that level of connection with people throughout their life, I think our world would be just a little bit better.” 

Coach Mac’s other grandson, Cameron MacPherson has also been touched by the community.

“I really think Syracuse is the best city in the world because of all the support Syracuse has shown.  My grandfather, Papa, he loved this city.  It means so much to me  and it means so much to our family that everyone is coming out.”

His grandfather told him how becoming a football player would build character.  However, the lessons didn’t end there.

Cameron MacPherson also played football at SU.
Credit John Smith/WAER News

“More than just through football, the way he interacted with people, the presence he was in the community and in our family, he was larger than life.  And a man of such integrity and character, I was awfully proud of and something I looked up to and hope to emulate.” 

Coach Mac is remembered for on-the-field success – a perfect season and several bowl game wins.  Athletic Director John Wildhack recalls the rare connection Coach Mac had on the community. 

“There’s a legacy here and his legacy lives forever, because of what he did, who he was and how he did it.  I mean who would think in today’s world that any coach and his wife after a big win would open their house to the town.  That doesn’t happen but that was Mac and that was Sandra, and that shows how genuine they were.” 

Wildhack says the team will find a way to honor Coach Mac’s legacy during the upcoming season. 

Calling hours for Dick MacPherson are Thursday, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Hendricks Chapel at SU.  The funeral is Friday...also at Hendricks.