I was born in 1978, and at that time, Jim Boeheim had already been the head coach of Syracuse basketball for a bit.
I’m a proud 2000 graduate of Syracuse University, and I’ve adamantly followed the Orange hoops program for multiple decades now.
Boeheim, who on Wednesday afternoon wrapped up a second straight disappointing season at the helm of the ‘Cuse, has finished his storied career on the Hill, with his 47th and final season producing a disappointing 17-15 mark after an even more disappointing 16-17 record in the prior term.
With those recent results, and Boeheim at 78 years old, I think we all figured that he was likely to hang up his whistle after the 2022-23 stanza or perhaps after next season.
It’s a shame that his last game for the program that he built into a national brand was a loss in the ACC Tournament, on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer no less.
As I had opined on several occasions lately, I felt that it was time for Jim Boeheim to call it quits. And he has. What I found strange is the SU Athletics press release on Wednesday announcing the end of Boeheim’s tenure as the team’s head coach didn’t even include any quotes from Boeheim himself.
Jim Boeheim, an icon in Central New York, is no longer the head coach of Syracuse basketball.
Now, I get that more and more ‘Cuse fans, during the 2022-23 term and in other recent campaigns, were calling for a new head coach of the Orange. And now they have one.
Former Syracuse basketball star Adrian Autry, the squad’s associate head coach, has been named the next boss of the ‘Cuse. I’m totally fine with this, and I think Autry taking over was to be expected.
But regardless of the Orange’s struggles in recent years, how the heck do you replace Jim Boeheim?
He has the second-most career wins as a head coach in Division I men’s hoops. Boeheim went to the NCAA Tournament 35 times in his 47 seasons leading his alma mater.
That included five Final Fours, two more trips to the Elite Eight, and a total of 20 journeys to the Sweet 16.
Oh, and we all know that while his official career record will be 1,015–440, you can just go ahead and add in another 101 victories to that mark.
Candidly, the end of his head-coaching career has proven a little strange. Jim Boeheim hinted at his potential retirement after Syracuse basketball fell by three points to Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament’s second round on Wednesday afternoon.
And then shortly thereafter, SU Athletics put out a media statement saying that Boeheim was out, and Autry was in. Did Jim Boeheim actually retire? Was he forced out?
How can you have a press release saying that Boeheim’s 47th season was his last one leading the ‘Cuse, and not include a quote or two from Jim Boeheim himself? Super odd to me.
In any event, I want to give a heartfelt thank you to Coach B. Sure, the Orange hasn’t been great in recent years. But over the decades, he transformed a hoops program in the Northeast into a national powerhouse.
The ‘Cuse moving from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference was a huge change for Syracuse basketball, and some might say for the worst, not the better. I hated the move at first, but I’ve grown to accept it these days.
Jim Boeheim no longer roaming the sidelines at the JMA Wireless Dome will be a monumental change for the Orange. It’s probably best that he is moving on, but that doesn’t mean I totally like this development.
I’m sure that, at some point down the line, I will get used to Boeheim no longer being there. But Syracuse basketball is synonymous with Jim Boeheim, and vice versa.
Seeing Adrian Autry running the ‘Cuse will take some getting used to, and I of course want him to thrive as the team’s next head coach.
But with Boeheim out, it’s truly the end of a remarkable era in Central New York that we will never, ever witness again.