The quotes are funny. Hilarious at that. But anyone who thinks the comments are surprising clearly haven’t followed the career of the Syracuse hall of famer.
Jim Boeheim, never quiet when he has an opinion, threw some shots out at Louisville coach Rick Pitino today at the Big East basketball media conference. The comments were regarding a statement from Pitino regarding conference realignment:
It started when Pitino said the additions of Memphis and Temple in 2013 would “more than make up for” the losses of Pitt and Syracuse, who are leaving the Big East at the end of the season for the ACC.
Boeheim, who hired Pitino as an assistant coach in 1976, not so politely disagreed.
“Rick’s full of shit if that’s what he really said,” Boeheim said. “If he was in the Big 12 right now like he wanted to be, he’d being saying the Big 12 is the best.”
The only thing I’ll say about what Rick said all summer is that if Louisville could have left they would have left,” Boeheim said.
“Everybody knows it and I’m really tired of him saying what Syracuse should be or should have done because they would have left in a heartbeat.”
Boeheim said he didn’t mind Pitino denying all the rumors of the Big 12, but, “when they start talking about Syracuse, I’m going to start talking about them.”
Now keep in mind that these comments are between two long time friends and former work colleagues here at Syracuse. Boeheim and Pitino have the ultimate respect for each other, and both coaches are a couple of the greatest coaches in the history of college basketball.
But Jim Boeheim has never been shy of anyone or anything, and that is of no surprise to people who follow the Syracuse program. If there is one quality that we all know and love about Boeheim, it is that he is the loyalest coach Syracuse has ever had (and will ever have). There is not a single person in Syracuse that loves the basketball team or the university more than him, and he will defend it against anyone, even his closest of friends.
Boeheim went on later in the day to say that the comments were not intended to be mean spirited, but that he meant everything he said.
And frankly, he’s right.
You can’t tell me that any Big East team that had an opportunity to leave to go to one of the other BCS conferences would have turned them down to stay on this sinking ship. It is understandable to defend your conference that you are stuck in like Pitino did to keep fan interest and to support the Big East going forward, but if the Big XII came calling tomorrow Louisville would be out the door. The same can be said for Connecticut, Rutgers, and Georgetown with the ACC, and Notre Dame did all but join the conference in football just to get their other sports out of the Big East.
Jim Boeheim will defend players, coaches, and friends until they give him a reason not to. Despite what anyone says about Athletic Director Daryl Gross, Chancellor Nancy Cantor, or anyone else at the school, Boeheim is the voice of Syracuse University and fans wouldn’t have it any other way.