Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim, for more than four decades, has never posted a record below .500, which is mind-boggling.
Syracuse basketball may not prove a blue blood like Duke, Kansas, Kentucky or North Carolina, but what head coach Jim Boeheim has built over the past 40-plus years on the Hill is something for which we should all marvel.
Okay, I get it. I know what’s coming. Boeheim ONLY has one NCAA championship. He’s only made five trips to the Final Four. He’s gotten upset early in numerous Big Dances.
And, recently, his team has struggled through multiple regular seasons in the Atlantic Coast Conference, which the ‘Cuse joined from the Big East Conference back in 2013-14.
Fine. Those are all valid points to consider. I would argue, however, that Boeheim has turned Syracuse basketball into a national brand. He’s gone on magical deep runs in March Madness when the so-called experts said that his squads didn’t even belong in the NCAA Tournament field.
Unlike the bevy of college head coaches, both past and present, Boeheim has won a national title. A game-ending jumper in 1987, an untimely injury in 2010, an unfortunate eligibility issue in 2012, a non-sense charge call in 2013 – these are some of the examples that show how close JB has proven to landing a second NCAA championship.
Let’s face it, if Boeheim has two rings, rather than “just” one, it changes some of the national conversation about him. But the rest of this column is about an achievement of Boeheim’s that no other head coach out there in the sport today can match – and it’s not even close.
As FOX College Hoops noted in a fun tweet, only four active Division I men’s basketball head coaches have more than 15 years of experience with zero losing campaigns. Those coaches are Boeheim, Gonzaga’s Mark Few, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Mike Anderson of St. John’s.
Boeheim has 44 seasons in Central New York under his belt. Think about that – 44 stanzas in a row where he’s never had a losing mark. If that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.
Sure, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina’s Roy Williams and Villanova’s Jay Wright have more NCAA crowns than Boeheim. Kentucky’s John Calipari and Iona’s Rick Pitino have advanced to more Final Fours. Bill Self has owned the Big 12 Conference for what seems like an eternity.
But all of those exquisite head coaches whom I mentioned directly above have put forth at least one term under .500 in their tenures. Boeheim, on the other hand, has not.
This is something to ponder next time all of us Orange fans out there, myself included, start to criticize the man from Lyons, N.Y., who transformed Syracuse basketball into an elite program.