After 47 seasons, Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim will not be returning as the men’s basketball coach at Syracuse, it was announced Wednesday.
Just hours after the Orange lost 77-74 to Wake Forest on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the ACC tournament, Syracuse announced that associate head coach Adrian Autry, who has been on the staff since 2011, would be promoted to replace the 78-year-old Boeheim.
“There is no doubt in my mind that without Jim Boeheim, Syracuse basketball would not be the powerhouse program it is today,” Chancellor Kent Syverud said in a statement. “Jim has invested and dedicated the majority of his life to building this program, cultivating generations of student-athletes and representing his alma mater with pride and distinction. I extend my deep appreciation and gratitude to an alumnus who epitomizes what it means to be ‘Forever Orange.'”
After Wednesday’s loss, Boeheim hinted that he would be retiring, but he said it was up to the university to decide his future.
“As I’ve said from day one when I started working here, the university hired me, and it’s their choice what they want to do,” Boeheim said. “I always have the choice of retirement, but it’s their decision as to whether I coach or not. It always has been.
“… I’ve just been lucky to be able to coach this long.”
Added Boeheim later: “I gave my retirement speech last week, and nobody picked up on it.”
The timing of Syracuse announcing that Autry, a former player under Boeheim, would be taking over the program wasn’t set until Wednesday, sources told ESPN’s Pete Thamel.
Boeheim has an official coaching record of 1,015-441 over his career — with 101 wins having been vacated because of NCAA rules violations between 2004 to 2007 and 2010 to 2012 that resulted in sanctions. Retired Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski holds the Division I career record with 1,202 victories, with Boeheim ranking second with either total.
He took Syracuse to the NCAA tournament on 35 occasions and advanced to the Final Four in five of those trips — winning the national title in 2003. He has 58 official NCAA tournament wins, which ranks fourth all time.
“I’ve been very lucky to be able to coach my college team, to play and then be an assistant coach and then a head coach, never having to leave Syracuse,” Boeheim said Wednesday. “It’s a great university. The city has embraced our team. I am amazed that we’ve been able to draw the fans that we’ve been able to draw over the years.
“… I’ve been just unbelievably fortunate to keep this job. Mike Brey is thrilled that he was at Notre Dame 23 years; he’s a puppy. I’ve had 47 years. I got to coach my sons. Two years ago, we were in the Sweet 16. And last year, I got to coach my sons. … I wanted to come back and coach these guys, and that’s what I was able to do. The university hasn’t offered me anything, whether to work or do anything at the university. That’s their choice.”
His 47 seasons at Syracuse trailed only Jim Phelan, who coached Mount St. Mary’s for 49 seasons between 1955 and 2008, in terms of longevity at a single school.
“There is no person more synonymous with Syracuse men’s basketball than legendary head coach Jim Boeheim,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said in a statement, adding that he thanks “Jim for all he has done for the ACC and college basketball, and we wish him, Juli and their entire family all the best as he enters his next chapter.”
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, now the winningest active Division I coach, also expressed his admiration for Boeheim on Wednesday.
“He’s had an absolutely incredible career from a player at Syracuse to what he’s done, and what he’s won,” Huggins said. “That’s hard to do. It’s hard to stay at the top like he has.”
Boeheim, who has had 23 players selected in the first round of the NBA draft, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2005. He also was an assistant coach for three USA Basketball teams that won Olympic gold medals.