A career with plenty of accolades - and many controversies - comes to an end at Syracuse. PIC: Chris Carlson/AP Photos
"You had a legendary career. Smile, sit there, and say you're moving on. That's one man's opinion."
Rob Stone's comments on the pregame of FOX's coverage of the Big East tournament were indicative of how many college basketball fans felt after Jim Boeheim met the media for what would end up being the final time of his active head coaching career at Syracuse. The Orange had just lost 77-74 to Wake Forest in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
We'll let him do the talking.
Indeed, Jim Boeheim has coached his last game at Syracuse. After 47 years at the helm of the Orange bench, Boeheim retires as one of college basketball's most recognized figures over the past five decades. Under Boeheim, Syracuse went to five Final Fours, won the 2003 National Championship, and punched 35 tickets to March Madness. Syracuse brought home five Big East Tournament titles and were the runners-up ten times. Boeheim also won NABC District 2 Coach of the Year ten times, and USBWA District 2 Coach of the Year four times.
Boeheim will finish his career second on the all-time wins list for NCAA Division I men's basketball coaches. He accumulated 1,015 wins over his career, trailing only Duke's Mike Krzyzewski. His all-time win percentage of .739 is objectively impressive.
Boeheim also enjoyed success on the international stage. He served as an assistant coach for the United States men's basketball team at the 1990 & 2006 FIBA World Championships, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the 2012 London Olympics. Boeheim helped lead the United States to a gold medal in both 2008 and 2012.
Of course, his success wasn't without asterisks. Boeheim's career has been marred by several controversies that have made headlines over the years. In 2015, the NCAA found that Syracuse had violated NCAA rules including academic misconduct, drug policy violations, and impermissible benefits to athletes...the Orange had to forfeit wins, scholarships were reduced, and Boeheim was suspended for nine games. Boeheim did admit he was responsible for the violations.
In later stages, Boeheim had been criticized for his treatment of Syracuse players. He has been known to publicly criticize players, both during games and in the media. Some critics have accused Boeheim of being too harsh, which has led to a high rate of ex-'Cuse players hitting the portal. In 2021, Marek Dolezaj spoke out and stated that Boeheim’s criticism was “too much” and that it had affected his mental health. It isn't the first we'd heard of this.
I've been an open critic of Jim Boeheim for the way he handled media and player interactions this past year more than ever. But to fail to recognize his contributions to the game is to ignore history. No matter how much scandal or negativity marred the end of his career, Boeheim is one of the all-time greats of college basketball and will be revered for incredible career.