Another season of The Walking Dead is coming to a close tonight, and now fans are left wondering what the hell to do with their Sunday nights. Sure, we could talk to our loved ones, I suppose. Thankfully, that’ll only last a week, and then Game of Thrones will be back to tide us over for at least a couple months. But back to The Walking Dead, it’s hard to believe fans of the show haven’t imagined how they’d do in a similar situation. With that in mind, I decided to think long and hard* about how some of the most beloved figures in Syracuse University sports would fare in a zombie apocalypse.

*long and hard is a general term that may not reflect the level of thought given, just go with it

Jim Boeheim

Unfortunately for Jim Boeheim, snarky witticisms aren’t a particularly strong deterrent against an army of the undead. On the bright side, however, if there’s any Syracuse legend who simply does not have time for any of this zombie shit, it’s Jim Boeheim. He’d make quick decisions based primarily on how much the zombies were irritating him at the time, and the fact that he’s so reluctant to move away from upstate New York would have him laughing his way through each and every winter, as the people in warmer climates didn’t have the frigid temperatures and massive snowdrifts to keep the walkers at bay.

I’m thinking Jim would be quite comfortable fortifying Manley Fieldhouse, snickering about the people who used the snow as a negative on the recruiting trail, and when John Thompson comes begging for sanctuary, Jim would smile through the door and helpfully remind Big John that unfortunately, Manley Fieldhouse is officially closed.

Scott Shafer

Okay, so Coach Shafer isn’t necessarily a Syracuse legend yet, but let’s be honest here: if you could pick one current Orange coach to have by your side during a zombie apocalypse, it’d be the #hardnosed Scott Shafer every day of the week. He’d be the first to lead a team into the attack of a zombie horde, though that could be to his detriment in the long run. Plus, he’s probably already rubbed Rick Grimes and his band of survivors the wrong way by calling the people in Atlanta “softnosed” so he might have some explaining to do when Rick and the gang come rolling up I-81.

Still, you’d never have to worry about Shafer running from a fight with the undead hordes, and at least if you’re going to go out, you’ll go out in a blaze of glory. Plus, he’d no doubt change up his plan to get the enemy into Carrier Dome and lock ’em in to trap scores of zombies inside that big old Teflon bubble, where they’d mill around the concourse aimlessly, getting dirty looks from undead, yellow jacketed Dome security to please find their seats and sit down.

Derrick Coleman

If real life were like The Walking Dead, and you had to select one former Syracuse legend to be your group’s version of Tyreese, it would almost have to be Derrick Coleman. I’m not talking about the completely neutered version of Tyreese from the show, either. I’m talking about the one from the comics, who once found himself locked inside a basketball gymnasium surrounded by walkers and armed only with a hammer, and subsequently killed every last one of them.

Plus, DC grew up on the streets of Detroit, so he’s basically already survived the apocalypse once already. I’m thinking that when the zombie apocalypse rolls around, Derrick Coleman is in it for the long haul.

Donovan McNabb

Now, you might have thought that Donovan McNabb would be a better pick for the group’s version of Tyreese simply because in the comics, Tyreese was a retired Atlanta Falcons linebacker. Here’s what Donovan McNabb brings to the table, though: charisma and leadership, and athleticism – at least for bursts of about 30 seconds, after which he has to stop and catch his breath for a few minutes.

Donovan would be great at juking his way through a roving band of walkers, heaving grenades 70 yards into the teeming undead masses, but unfortunately you get the feeling that should it come to any sort of situation like the first season finale when the team has only about two minutes to get out of the CDC before it explodes, well, that’s not exactly the situation in which Donovan McNabb ever thrived.

Jim Brown

Let’s be honest here, even zombies aren’t dumb enough to mess with Jim Brown. He’d be just fine.

Gerry McNamara

One thing that Gerry McNamara has going for him in a zombie apocalypse is that he’s an avid fisherman, so he’d be able to live off of the land, while so many of us would be reliant on scrounging for canned goods and Twinkies to get by. G-Mac is scrappy, and resilient, so I have to think he’d do well in a zombie apocalypse. Plus, all he has to do is go down to Scranton, where the only reason the zombies there would be even a slight nuisance would be due to them constantly pestering him to autograph their exposed rib cages.

Rob Konrad

Zombies can’t swim, so Rob Konrad would be free to go live with his new friends in the ocean, where he’ll rule as their king and wait for the zombies to overtake humanity and the tides to rise, allowing him to become the aquatic emperor of the newly water covered Earth. This is the kind of power that 44 gives you, you know.

Just another reason to #Restore44.

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish