Syracuse Basketball: Jim Boeheim ‘thrilled to leave the program where it is’

Syracuse basketball, Jim Boeheim (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball, Jim Boeheim (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

Former long-time Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim said on Sunday that he’s “just thrilled to leave the program where it is,” as Adrian Autry takes the reins and begins his first season on the Orange sidelines in early November.

Boeheim, on Sunday, had a fun chat with iconic sportscaster Bob Costas, who was in the Syracuse University class of 1974, as part of a SU alumni association event during homecoming weekend.

During the event, Syracuse University Chancellor/President Kent Syverud and ‘Cuse athletics director John Wildhack also spoke, with them and Costas understandably thanking Jim Boeheim for his more than six decades of loyalty to SU, first as a student-athlete, then as an assistant coach, and finally as the Syracuse basketball head coach for 47 seasons, during which time he tallied the second-most career victories of all time in Division I men’s hoops, won a national title in 2003, advanced to five Final Fours, and journeyed to 20 Sweet 16s.

A legendary Hall of Famer, Boeheim retired this past March, following a 2022-23 term in which the Orange went 17-15 overall. Autry, who played for Boeheim and was most recently the team’s associate head coach, now is charged with leading Syracuse basketball into the future.

Jim Boeheim says his retirement in the spring “was the right time for me.” He believes the Orange is in good hands, with a great head coach, coaching staff and players, although he acknowledged that it will take some time for Autry & Co. to settle in.

Former Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim is staying busy after retiring from the program.

Wildhack said that there’s never been another person who has loved Syracuse University more than Jim Boeheim, and has done as much for SU as Boeheim. Wildhack called the transition from Boeheim to Autry “seamless,” saying Jim Boeheim is to be thanked for that.

While Boeheim is no longer the head coach of Syracuse basketball, he says he continues to stay busy. He and his wife lead the wonderful Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation, an organization whose mission is to “enrich the lives of kids in need within our Central New York community, as well as provide support for eliminating cancer through research and advocacy.”

Jim Boeheim is also the special assistant to the director of athletics at SU. He said on Sunday he’s focused on raising money, and he’ll likely go around the country in that role, with a focus on fundraising for SU Athletics’ facilities as well as name, image and likeness opportunities.

Additionally, Boeheim says that he’s likely to join the media “in some form or another.” He mentioned possibly calling games as an analyst, which I think would be fantastic.

Boeheim dished on a variety of topics, including the Orange’s 2003 national championship, the heartbreaking loss in the NCAA Tournament final game to Indiana in 1987, and the ‘Cuse epic six-overtime victory against Connecticut in the 2009 Big East Conference Tournament.

While he acknowledged that Syracuse basketball came close to winning a second national championship a couple of other times, just getting one was special. “I’m not greedy,” he said. Winning a national title “is something you dream of as a coach … it’s pretty hard to do.”

Jim Boeheim, ever candid, which I love about him, also talked about legendary ‘Cuse hoops player Carmelo Anthony and his continued support of Syracuse University, conference realignment, NIL, and the explosion of the NCAA’s transfer portal.

He says that with conference realignment, NIL and the portal, collegiate athletics is “crazy right now.” Boeheim says that SU and its peers nationwide need to adjust, and that there needs to be a uniform system in place regarding NIL.

He reflected on his great experience coaching some of the world’s best professional players as he worked alongside his dear friend, the Hall of Famer and former legendary Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, with USA Basketball.

Costas asked Jim Boeheim about some of his biggest regrets, so to speak. And Boeheim responded with losing recruit Sam Perkins to North Carolina. Boeheim said he went to 27 straight games of Perkins, who played for high schools in New York City and then in Albany County, N.Y.

The Orange almost was able to land Perkins, but he ultimately committed to the Tar Heels.  Boeheim joked that after that occurred, he couldn’t get out of bed for two days.

Jim Boeheim noted that he’s from Lyons, N.Y., which is about an hour away from Syracuse University. He enjoyed watching ‘Cuse legends such as Jim Brown and Ernie Davis. Boeheim came to SU in the early 1960s and never wanted to leave, he says.

Boeheim says that he’s always believed Syracuse is the best place to live. “It’s where I belong, and I’ll never leave.”

As someone who is a proud SU alumnus, graduating from ‘Cuse in 2000, Jim Boeheim will always, always have a special place in my heart. I’m excited for the Adrian Autry era to commence, and I’m glad that Boeheim remains a part of SU Athletics.

Oh, and I hope he gets into broadcasting soon. I say pair him with a Syracuse University alumnus and a renowned play-by-play announcer like, say, Sean McDonough, on college basketball telecasts. That would prove beautiful.

For everything that you’ve done for SU and Central New York, a heartfelt thank you, Jim.

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