Syracuse Basketball: Fans’ desire for Jim Boeheim to retire at all-time high

Syracuse basketball, Jim Boeheim (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball, Jim Boeheim (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

In the aftermath of Syracuse basketball falling to 3-4 overall and getting crushed at No. 16 Illinois this past Tuesday night in the final ACC-Big Ten Challenge game for the Orange, a ton of ‘Cuse fans are extremely frustrated, angry, sad and disheartened about the state of this program, and they’re ready for head coach Jim Boeheim to retire.

I get it. I’m frustrated myself. In chatting with a bevy of Syracuse basketball fans on Facebook and Twitter following that awful setback to Illinois, there is a sizable, growing contingent of them (at least from my perspective) that wants to see Jim Boeheim retire either immediately, which I don’t think will happen, or at the end of the 2022-23 season, which I definitely could see occurring.

What’s more, some fans believe that Syracuse University leaders should either fire Boeheim now or at the end of the current term, assuming he doesn’t announce his retirement then.

That, my friends, I don’t see happening at all. Jim Boeheim has more than 1,100 career victories as a head coach (whatever, NCAA), which is the second most ever in Division I men’s basketball.

He has a national championship, reached five Final Fours (including two in the past decade) and journeyed to 20 Sweet 16s. His head-coaching achievements at his alma mater are remarkable, but at the same time, Syracuse basketball in its present form is in a bad, bad spot.

A boatload of Syracuse basketball fans is ready for head coach Jim Boeheim to hang up his whistle.

I’ve often been an ardent supporter of Boeheim, because of what he’s done for the Orange program, Syracuse University and the old Big East Conference.

He’s a model of consistency, with his first losing season ever coming in 2021-22, when the ‘Cuse sported a 16-17 mark. However, as Jim Boeheim is in the midst of his 47th stanza at the helm of the Orange, Syracuse basketball sure looks like it could have a losing mark yet again in 2022-23, although many games remain on the team’s schedule.

For me, it’s not just about 2021-22 and 2022-23. It’s the trajectory of the program since it left the Big East for the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2013-14.

Yes, the squad went to the Final Four in 2013 and 2016. It got to the Sweet 16 in 2018 and 2021. But since becoming an ACC member, by and large, the Orange has proven a middle-of-the-pack group in its regular seasons.

Now, there are a variety of reasons why the ‘Cuse hasn’t been the same dominant force that it was from, say, 2009 to 2014 (and obviously in the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s).

Mike Hopkins leaving for Washington was big. The NCAA sanctions hurt for a period of time. Guys getting injured, leaving unexpectedly and early for the pro rankings, or transferring.

Then again, the transfer-portal explosion is something with which every college squad has to deal. Recruiting for the Orange, in recent years, is down.

Yes, sophomore forward Benny Williams was rated five stars by in the 2021 cycle. Yes, freshman point guard Judah Mintz was No. 36 in the 2022 class, per ESPN.

And while the ‘Cuse does have a promising six-member 2022 cycle, the team also missed on a ton of top-flight prospects in this class. The Orange has offered more than 20 players in the 2023 cycle, with no commitments as of yet.

The ‘Cuse does have some nice developments going on at this juncture in 2024, but I wonder what, if anything, Syracuse basketball coaches are telling 2023, 2024 and 2025 players about when Boeheim is retiring, and who will replace him.

I love Jim Boeheim. Always have, always will. I will greatly miss him when he’s gone, however, I’m not quite yet in the camp of some of my fellow fans, who want Jim Boeheim to retire (or be fired) as soon as possible.

That being said, if the 2022-23 version of the ‘Cuse continues to lose games, and if a losing season ends up being the case for the present Orange squad, I’m likely going to switch my position and prognosticate that a change is needed at head coach for Syracuse basketball.

The only thing I’ll add here is that if Boeheim’s successor is one of his assistant coaches, such as Adrian Autry or Gerry McNamara, if either of those guys runs the same system as Jim Boeheim, should we expect any better results on the court for the ‘Cuse, or with the team’s recruiting efforts, in the near future?

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