Scott Shafer escapes stresses of coaching watching son’s 1st start

first_imgLess than 1,500 people filled the single-sideline stands compared to the 30,112 in the Dome on Friday night. Some fans chose a grassy hill for their vantage point rather than the hot bleachers. The balcony of a four-story house overlooking the field served as a makeshift coaching box.Instead of all eyes being on the third-year head coach like they were on Friday, Shafer took the rare opportunity to watch his son, since Syracuse and Ithaca usually both play on Saturdays. Regardless of the result, no one will call sports talk radio shows demanding Ithaca’s coach be fired and national columnists won’t speculate if he’s on the hot seat.“Being a coach’s son, I know how it is,” Wolfgang Shafer said. “This is their profession. A lot of people forget about that sometimes. You go to these big-time D-I games, you see ‘Fire Whoever’ in the crowd. This is their well-being.”Shafer enjoyed being a dad for the day, but said earlier last week that he gets more nervous for his son’s games than his own. He sat quietly but clapped after nearly every one of his son’s completions. Fans around him stood and cheered vocally, but Shafer maintained his stern appearance while his degree of focus won’t influence the game.Wolfgang Shafer orchestrated a dominant nine-minute opening drive that resulted in a touchdown.“It was like woosh, right there,” one fan said of his touchdown pass.“That’s a great decision,” another said after he scrambled on a play-action rollout for five yards.The environment is different, but still, all eyes are on a new quarterback. Friday night, it was Syracuse freshman Eric Dungey, who replaced an injured Terrel Hunt. Saturday, it was Wolfgang Shafer starting his first collegiate football game.Ithaca’s offense stalled on its next two drives and Union then tied it at seven. When Wolfgang Shafer and the Bombers trotted onto the field, a fan yelled, “Come on coach, make your adjustments!”For a change, the words weren’t directed at Shafer.Twenty seconds later, the referee announced a penalty on Ithaca’s center for “simulating a snap.” Half of Missy Shafer’s immediate family is entrenched in college football, but like any mom at her son’s game, she blurted out, “I’ve never heard of that before.”Despite the removal from coaching responsibilities Saturday afternoon, Shafer was still on his phone often while Ithaca was on defense. At halftime, he left Elsa and Missy in the bleachers and found a quiet spot next to the stands to work his phone. But when the third quarter began, he was back at his seat.With less than four minutes to play, Union drew within one score. The Dutchmen lined up in a different formation on the ensuing kickoff and the Ithaca coaches in the press box frantically called into their headsets before calling timeout. Another hectic split-second coaching move as Shafer sat still in the sun.Just minutes earlier, SU Athletics announced that Hunt would be out for the season with a torn Achilles. On what could be the most tumultuous day for the Orange all season, Shafer kept clapping for his son.Football is just a game and being in the stands offered some reality.Said Wolfgang Shafer: “It’s a little more pure here.” Comments Published on September 7, 2015 at 9:18 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Scott Shafer walked unrecognized into the Ithaca fan section at Frank Bailey Field. Flanked by wife Missy and daughter Elsa, Shafer wore faded green khaki shorts, an Ithaca football polo shirt and aviator sunglasses.Shafer came to see his son, Wolfgang, make his first career start at quarterback for the Bombers at Union College on Saturday. Just 15 hours earlier, SU was wrapping up its season-opening win in the Carrier Dome against Rhode Island.“My passion for this game has grown from him,” Wolfgang Shafer said of his father after throwing for 265 yards and two touchdowns in a 38-23 win over Union. “Just coming out here and doing what I love to do and see him do what he loves to do last night, I mean, that’s what it’s all about.”This is the side of Scott Shafer that SU fans don’t get to see. When he talks to recruits, he often stresses the family environment of his program and the importance of keeping things in perspective. On Saturday, he practiced what he preaches.“It’s nice to be a dad for once,” Shafer said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more