Gross, named officially to the position Friday by Syracuse chancellor Nancy Cantor, will need to finance a new athletic facilities center, capture fans that have been turned away by a mediocre football team and keep the men's basketball and lacrosse team at a top level.
Cantor thinks Syracuse has picked the right man for the job.
"That's always nice when you get the best of the bunch," Cantor said.
Gross, 43, spent 14 years in the University of Southern California athletic administration. During his time there, the senior associate athletic director oversaw the Trojans winning 15 national titles and 30 Pacific-10 Conference championships.
Gross worked directly under athletic director Mike Garrett and had a say in the hiring and firing of coaches. USC is most recently known for hiring Pete Carroll and seeing its program rise back to the elite.
Gross topped the short list of Syracuse's replacements for Jake Crouthamel, who retired Nov. 17. The search was led by chairman Michael Wasylenko, who interviewed seven people for the job.
The committee recommended Gross to Cantor, and after their meeting Saturday in New York City, she offered him the job. The move was praised by the Syracuse head coaches.
"I'm looking forward to Daryl coming in and picking up where Jake left off and carrying the ball and moving forward," said Syracuse football coach Paul Pasqualoni.
Said lacrosse coach John Desko: "I love his energy, I love what he's talking about and he knows what it's going to take to maintain some sports and improve on others."
Gross will learn under Crouthamel until June 30, when Crouthamel will officially retire. Gross will have big shoes to fill, as Crouthamel's 26 years as SU's athletic director have produced 14 bowl births in football, 22 NCAA tournament berths in basketball and nine national titles in lacrosse. Crouthamel also oversaw the construction of the Carrier Dome.
Of course, with Crouthamel - one of Pasqualoni's biggest supporters - leaving, rumors have begun to surface as to whether Gross will bring in a new football coach from USC. The football team will be headed to its first bowl game in three years when it plays in the Champs Sports Bowl, but has gone a combined 16-19 in that span.
Gross immediately dismissed these rumors.
"What I find with our beat writers in L.A., is that they're not only beat writers, they're detectives," Gross said. "If you're a beat writer at practice out there in the sun, and the sun is hitting your head, you come up with all these theories."
"I can't find a better word for ridiculous right now. Those thoughts aren't in my mind at all."
For the time being, Gross will spend his time getting acclimated to Syracuse and the tasks that wait before him.
"Our goal is to win championships in all sports – now that doesn't mean that I want every coach to win a national championship every year, but you want to have the opportunity to be in the hunt," he said.
Gross named Syracuse's new AD
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