Jim Boeheim Thoughts | Page 2 | Syracusefan.com

Jim Boeheim Thoughts


All American
Aug 29, 2011
In 1976 SU, carrying the nickname "Roy's Runts," made a miracle underdog run to the final four. Roy Danforth, the coach, parlayed that success into a promotion, a move to a better school. That school was Tulane.

I wasn't alive yet. I know this second-hand from my dad.

I'm 44 years old and the team I root for has only had one coach in my lifetime. Since he retired earlier today my mind keeps going back to being eight years old in 1987, and watching Keith Smart hit that shot from my couch with my mom. I couldn't sleep after. I stayed up all night just looking out my window processing my feelings. Watching what I assumed were cars trickling home from bars and watch-parties, and still staying up watching long after everybody got where they were going and the street became totally empty and quiet.

Back then many of the houses in my neighborhood were adorned with homemade SU decorations in honor of their deep NCAA tournament run. Like it was Christmas or something. People were giddy at the thought that SU could achieve something so great. There were no expectations of greatness then. We were honored just to be good. But humans adapt. Its what we do, and we can't help it. 40 years of constant greatness creates expectations in anybody. Every year for 40ish years Syracuse was good enough to make the final four, it was just a matter of waiting 5 or 10 years for the stars to align and the chips to fall our way.

Now instead of being giddy and honored when SU is good enough to make the final four, people become embarrassed and angry when SU is not good enough to make the final four. I, personally, liked it better the other way. I'm not embarrassed or even particularly upset that SU isn't that level of great anymore, maybe because I guessed a long time ago that the basketball team was destined to become what the football team has been for a long time. Or maybe its because my loyalty to Jim Boeheim for building a program that has given me decades of first rate entertainment outweighs my greed for more wins? Who knows. What I do know is I dont expect SU to ever be as great as it used to be, but I do expect to be in the Dome with my daughters watching basketball games, teaching them to love their city, teaching them about the good old days of Sherman Douglas, Lazar Sims, Gerry McNamara, Michael Carter Williams, and Mike Gbinije, and teaching them how to deal with losing gracefully. Its going to be absolutely fantastic! I hope everybody reading this builds fantastic memories like that too.

I fully understand that the vast majority of SU fans want Boeheim to leave because they dont think we are winning enough, but I just can't quite get there. Its not how my mind works. I see Jim Boeheim with 3 starting freshman (an 80 year old with the impossible job of needing to relate to teenagers) and I see him still figuring out how to win more games than he loses (at almost 80!) and I think ... what a badass! You have to admit if it was your grandfather doing that you'd think it was badass. And even though I dont know Jim Boeheim in any meaningful way, I guess I kind of think of him that way. He's just always been there. From when I was a kid using sports to make friends with other kids - playing basketball in the driveway, football in the back yard, and baseball in the streets, but always caring about SU basketball more than the rest. To when I was a young professional being recruited to work in many far away cities but choosing to live in Syracuse and having that choice become the single best choice of my life (just like it was for Boeheim!), to becoming a dad with a demanding job and having no time for sports like I used to and only keeping up with SU basketball and giving up the rest, he has just always been there.

Its a hard thing to wrap your mind around, something as unimportant as basketball, and yet something important enough to make you happy for four plus decades. The thought I am left with, more than any other is Jim Boeheim took over a program so low its coach was poached by Tulane and turned it into a program so great that people get angry when we are not among the elite of the country. Thanks Jim.

1987 wasn't the only time I stayed up all night because of SU basketball. I didn't sleep a wink in 2003, or in 2009 after the 6 overtimes. As I type this I have youtube streaming on my television. Its showing an SU basketball game from 1992, when Adrian Autrey was the point guard. I have a feeling its not going to be the last game I stream tonight. I have a feeling there may be one more SU basketball induced sleepless night ahead of me.
Love this post and I feel this is a good thread for some thoughts on JB, who I'm sure, in true board fashion, will be a topic of debate for the next 40 years. With that ...

It's important to realize where your expectations come from
General touches on this but it's worth reiterating that, whoever you are (though I'm mostly addressing the crowd that derisively refers to JB as Jimbo or the old man or whatever), and whatever your expectations are -- they are directly a result of JB's work building the program over the course of whatever time frame you choose (first 20 years, 25, 30, 35 ... whatever). I'm not getting preachy simply stating that whatever it is you believe this program *should* be, and to whatever extent you feel it is 78-year-old JB's fault that we aren't that (and to be clear, you can make a very fair case for that point), you only think we *should* be whatever b/c of what JB accomplished here.

Everyone should feel a tinge of sadness about JB's departure
Again, not being preachy. The past 9 years haven't been quite what we've come to expect and the past five or so have been pretty ugly for the most part. It is what it is. But JB (and really guys like K, Roy W, Pitino, etc.) is one of the last ties we have to the era of college hoops and Syracuse hoops that brought so much fun, excitement, and drama to our lives. Again, General gets at this a bit, but as unseemly and uneven as college hoops may have been from, let's say the 80s through the first half of the 2010s, the sport is almost unrecognizable today. Conference realignment, transfer portal, G League/NBA, AAU stuff -- it's just a weird time where most casual fans (and even some larger fans like myself) couldn't begin to list the top 5 or 6 title contenders nor the five or six best players in college hoops. Regional networks are failing, streaming isn't looking as much like the future as it was a couple years ago and, even if they are flawed, you don't get the joy of seeing players develop over three, four or five years anymore. I won't go as far as to say college hoops is dying but it's in a weird spot and while I think we can absolutely compete at a high level again, I really doubt it will ever look or feel quite the same.

Sad to see it end on a sour note
In some ways, it was always going to end this way. Dude is a lifer and hoops junkie. It's what we loved about him. Other than collapsing on the court, he was likely going to have be uncomfortably not invited back. That said, I wish JB could have enjoyed the last year or two more and gone out with grace. Who's fault it is -- and maybe it's JB's -- is irrelevant to me, just wish it had ended in a better place.

Thoughts on the future
I think the teams that have success in this day and age of college hoops are going to be the ones that are the most creative. I don't really think it's about landing 3 of the top 30 recruits anymore b/c that's a one-year fix and that hasn't yielded the UK's and Duke's nearly as many titles as anyone would have guessed it would have the past 15 years or so. But I also think the idea of trying put together a couple freshmen classes where guys have enough talent AND stay for 3-4 years is also a bygone era. Really hope Red can figure out some combination of improved recruiting with a sprinkling of portal kids and somehow solve this roster management issue that's plagued us for years now. Should be interesting to watch and wish him the best. Would love another 40 years of elite level play -- no pressure!


Walk On
Nov 22, 2011

“…maybe because I guessed a long time ago that the basketball team was destined to become what the football team has been for a long time. …What I do know is I dont expect SU to ever be as great as it used to be.”

You really believe we’ll never be great again in basketball?! Good grief. I guess we’ll just have to sit back and watch tiny Catholic schools like Xavier, Marquette,Providence, oh and freaking Gonzaga, enjoy top 25 seasons while we rot in the bottom of the ACC… Unbelievable that someone with this much passion and history as a Syracuse fan has become so psychically connected to Boeheim that he cant see Syracuse succeeding without him. You know who made this program? The players, first and foremost. And the loyal fans who packed the Dome for decades, including during these years of diminishing returns. I love JB but Syracuse basketball is bigger than Boeheim and will survive and thrive after he’s gone. I wish coach Autry the best and I’m excited to see him prove you wrong.
And I believe he had the gig of a lifetime. Red is someone we can all get behind. I will not bash what I believe is one of the best tacticians this game has ever seen. I will say Red is not going to quiver out of respect for someone like Hopkins had to during his time here, especially when he was named interim HC. Borderline oppressive presence and unequivocally wrong. When you put others first you inspire belief in themselves, not in their belief about you. Go Red and Go Orange


Build a dorm, burn the locker rm. upgrade the dome
Aug 26, 2011
Excuse me, why can’t we be the Beast of the East again? Aren’t we still located in the East? You think because we don’t play Providence and Seton Hall regularly anymore we can’t be relevant? Lol. That’s just silly. As long as we’re still playing Gtown, St John’s, and Nova (we need to get them back in a regular rotation), we’ll still be playing in our key recruiting areas.
For us to be Beast of the East again we would have to rejoin the Big East, forego football, nd watch our thletic dpt. go bankrupt.
The Cuse vs GT game was the biggest rivalry in the Nation. It's a nothing burger now
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