‘I was very lucky’: Jim Boeheim officially in Syracuse after 47 years | College basketball

Jim Boeheim’s 47-year tenure as head coach at Syracuse came to an awkward end on Wednesday when the university said Orange assistant Adrian Autry had been promoted to the position.

The move came less than three hours after Syracuse lost to Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, after which Boeheim hinted at retirement but said it would ultimately be a university decision.

Then came news from the school: “Today, as his 47th coaching season at his alma mater comes to an end, so does his illustrious career at Syracuse University. Assistant Head Coach Adrian Autry ’94, one of Boeheim’s former players and longtime assistant, became the new head coach for the program.

Autry has been at Boeheim since 2011 and has held the title of assistant head coach since March 2017.

The 78-year-old Boeheim’s official record over his 47 seasons was 1015-441. This reflects the 101 wins picked up by the NCAA for violations in the 2004-07 and 2010-12 seasons.

Whether it was 1015 or 1116, only retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski had more wins than Boeheim at the Division I level.

Most career wins by a men’s basketball coach in the 1st division

“As I’ve said from the first day I started working here, the university hired me and it’s their choice what they want to do,” Boeheim said Wednesday afternoon. “I always have the choice of retiring, but they decide whether I will be a coach or not. Always been like that. Again, I was lucky enough to be able to coach my college team, play, then be assistant coach, then head coach, without ever leaving Syracuse. It’s a great university.”

It was a confusing final press conference where Boeheim hinted at retirement and hinted that he would like to come back.

Clarity came soon after. For the first time since 1976, the Orange coach is someone other than Boeheim.

“I have no doubt that without Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Basketball would not be the powerful program it is today,” Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a statement distributed by the school. “Jim has invested and devoted much of his life to building this program, nurturing generations of student athletes, and representing his alma mater with pride and distinction. I express my deep appreciation and gratitude to an alumnus who embodies what it means to be Forever Orange.

Boeheim has been synonymous with Syracuse for over six decades. He was born in Lyon in downtown New York, near Syracuse. He enrolled in the school in 1962 as a walk-on, eventually becoming captain of the then-Orangemen along with Dave Bing.

In 1969, he was hired in Syracuse as a graduate assistant. And in 1976, he took over the program. She has been his face ever since; even the domed court where Syracuse plays its home games has been named after him since 2002.

“There will never be another Jim Boeheim,” Buddy Boeheim, one of Boeheim’s sons who played for him at Syracuse, tweeted Wednesday. “The greatest coach, father and mentor I could ask for. A man who gave the city, the program and the college everything he had throughout his life, with countless accomplishments. Excited for lots of golf in our future, I love you, Dad. “

The Oranges had a 17-15 record this season and will miss the NCAA tournament for the second straight season. This led to criticism that led to questions about Boeheim’s future and what the school would ultimately decide.

“It’s an honor to play for Coach Boeheim,” said Syracuse’s Benny Williams after the loss to Wake Forest. “For as long as I can remember, I’ve been watching Syracuse basketball from Jeremy Grant to Dion Waiters and these guys. The biggest lesson I’ll take from Coach Boeheim is to go about your business everyday and be a man.

Jim Boeheim
Jim Boeheim clips in after Syracuse’s victory over Kansas in the 2003 National Championship game at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Photo: Craig Jones/Getty Images

And there, no doubt, there was a decline in success.

Syracuse haven’t won 20 games in any of the last four seasons. It was far from its heyday when the show won an NCAA title in 2003 and reached the Final Four four more times. Syracuse has reached the NCAA Tournament 34 times under Boeheim, won 10 Big East regular season titles and five consecutive Big East tournament titles.

“I’ve been lucky enough to train in Syracuse, a place I love, a place I love to live,” said Boeheim. “People still wonder about it, but maybe that’s my flaw. But I have lived in Syracuse all my life and I hope to live there for a long time in the future. I think it’s a great place.”

Now it’s Autry’s turn. He was supposed to be the next coach for some time; the question was always “when”.

He played in 121 games in his four seasons for Boeheim and then spent more than a decade on the bench with his former coach.

“There have been very few influential forces in my life more powerful than Syracuse University and Jim Boeheim. They both played such important roles and without either of them I’m sure I wouldn’t have had this amazing opportunity ahead of me,” said Autry. “I spent a lot of time playing basketball, learning from Jim, and I am very grateful to him for preparing me to continue the winning tradition that is Orange Basketball.

“It’s hard to imagine a world without him on the bench, but together with our coaches, student-athletes and fans, we’ll build on decades of success as a winning program.”

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