It’s a day that every head coach relishes even after their career is over – their first ever NFL victory as a head coach. Buffalo got it for Doug Marrone in dramatic fashion Sunday with a game-tying touchdown and game-winning extra point with two seconds remaining to beat Carolina in Week 2 (24-23). Unfortunately the elation of Sunday’s result also brought other more difficult emotions to the surface.
As Marrone took to the postgame lectern to address the media after Buffalo’s dramatic win he was overcome with emotion, knowing just 24 hours earlier a friend and colleague at Syracuse, Rob Edson, had died suddenly of an apparent heart attack at his Syracuse area home.
“I’m having a difficult time, it’s a personal situation,” Marrone said. “Syracuse University and Central New York lost a dear friend. Rob Edson, who I worked with for quite a long time, he became the athletic director of Onondaga Community College. I know that Rob was watching and I can’t stop thinking about that. When that game was coming down to the end, my prayers just go out for him and his family. I apologize.”
Edson’s wife Sue is also Syracuse's assistant director of athletics for communications. She worked with Marrone on a daily basis during the football season, but her late husband worked for Syracuse University for better than 20 years. He served most recently as senior associate director of athletics for administration and chief financial officer at Syracuse before taking the athletic director’s job at Onondaga Community College.
“It’s difficult for me because Rob, when I was at Syracuse, he’d always come in after the games and kind of cheer me up and pick me up and keep things in perspective,” said Marrone. “I think about his wife, Sue Edson, who worked with me every day to see the person you guys have in front of you now and to get better with the media. They have two beautiful children and it hurts.”
Marrone was asked if he could remember a time when his emotions went so quickly from one end of the spectrum to the other.
“I guess because of my faith and what I believe in, I think after the game was over, that’s when the emotion took over,” he said. “I think we all know we have a job to do and a responsibility. I know that sounds cold in a sense, but it’s more important for me to be there for the team and do that, and then now afterwards my thoughts went to Rob (Edson) and his family. That’s what’s tough. I think we’re all humans. My emotions are no different than anyone else’s. It’s a tragedy, it really is.”
Edson was just 45-years old, two years younger than Marrone.
Syracuse announced on Sunday their plans to create a scholarship in Edson’s name that would honor athletes who leave the university without getting their degree, but come back and earn it at a later date.
The University announced that contributions to the scholarship can be sent to the Orange Club with a notation for the ‘Rob Edson Scholarship Fund’, Manley Field House, 1301 E Colvin St., Syracuse, NY 13244.