Fayetteville, Ark. – Right when Bret Bielema had established his nine-person coaching staff wide receivers coach George McDonald was hired away by Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer as the team’s offensive coordinator.
McDonald turned in his resignation on Tuesday after being hired on Dec. 19. The same day Barry Lunney Jr. was named as the Razorbacks new tight ends coach which would have completed the Arkansas coaching staff.
McDonald spent the last two seasons on the Miami Hurricanes staff as wide receivers coach after stints with the Cleveland Browns and University of Minnesota.
Newly promoted Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer was the defensive coordinator for Western Michigan while McDonald was offensive coordinator during the 2005-2006 seasons.
The Hogs will miss McDonald’s recruiting connections and abilities in the state of Florida.
An outside perspective on McDonald’s turn as offensive coordinator at Syracuse should come with some worry.
Shafer does not have a strong track record of sticking with programs. He was fired after one-year as Michigan’s defensive coordinator and had previous short-lived stops at Stanford (2007 DC), Western Michigan (2005-2006 DC), and Illinois (2004 DB). Only after falling under Doug Marrone’s care from 2009-2012 did Shafer find solid ground as a coach.
Shafer was promoted from defensive coordinator to head coach after Marrone was hired as the Buffalo Bills head coach.
The step up in title and pay could come at a long-term cost for McDonald.
McDonald had a $50,000 buyout clause in his contract that one can assume will be covered by Syracuse’s athletic department, alumni association, or boosters.