Jim Boeheim, Syracuse clear up questions surrounding ‘awkward’ retirement
Jim Boeheim’s illustrious career is over after 47 years as Syracuse men’s basketball coach.
However, he confused some media members when it seemed he wasn’t exactly ready to retire, saying Wednesday it was “up to the university.”
Boeheim initially joked that he “gave my retirement speech on the court last Saturday, and I gave it to the press conference afterwards,” but no one picked up on it.
However, when the university announced he was no longer the coach, the word “retire” was not used, nor did the release include any quotes from Boeheim.
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Former Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, the only coach Boeheim trails for most wins as a Division I coach, said it was an “awkward” ending.
“The other day was awkward. Syracuse the university and Syracuse athletics and Syracuse basketball, they should all be one in making this announcement,” Coach K said. “The fact that there’s any ambiguity is wrong. It’s not right. I would hope that if that is the case — I’m not saying it is — but I would hope things get right quickly and be celebrated the way it should be.
“The ending has to be better. Maybe we can do this right in a week or in two days. Just where everyone should know what his future is. It should be at Syracuse… so all the fans and everyone knows he’s always going to be a part of that. I can tell you that it’s helped us and our fans. It really has helped the transition. It shows a level of support for the new person.”
Boeheim cleared the air Friday, saying he was “thrilled to be retired.”
For more clarification, Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said Boeheim told his team he would not return shortly after the Orange got knocked out of the ACC Tournament by Wake Forest. Wildhack added that the transition to Adrian Autry as the next head coach had long been planned.
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Boeheim admitted he didn’t think about retiring until a four-game losing streak late in the season, when he realized that “this is the time.”
The 78-year-old went 1,116-440 as a head coach. The NCAA vacated 101 of those wins after an athletics scandal, dropping his official record to 1,015-440. He coached only his alma mater for his entire career.
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Vacated wins or not, Boeheim has the second-most victories in NCAA Division I history, and he is the only coach to win an NCAA tournament game in six different decades.
With Wednesday’s loss, Syracuse (17-15) likely will not qualify for March Madness this year.