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Boeheim Out At Syracuse, But Was It Forced?

A lot of lingering questions about how the coaching change came about

Wake Forest v Syracuse
GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA - MARCH 08: Head coach Jim Boeheim of the Syracuse Orange reacts during the second half of their game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the second round of the ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 08, 2023 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Jim Boeheim’s association with Syracuse basketball started in 1961 and ended, at least officially, on March 8, 2023, which is pretty incredible when you think about it.

He came to Syracuse as a walk-on and, other than a few years of wandering around East Coast minor leagues, has been at Syracuse ever since.

The university issued a statement, saying this:

“Nearly 60 years ago, Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73 first arrived on the Syracuse University campus as an undergraduate student and walk-on with the men’s basketball team. Little did he know that six decades later, he’d be one of college basketball’s winningest head coaches, a national champion, a Hall of Famer and one of the most prominent alumni in Syracuse University history. Today, as his 47th season coaching his alma mater comes to an end, so too does his storied career at Syracuse University. Associate Head Coach Adrian Autry ’94, one of Boeheim’s former players and longtime assistant, has been named the program’s next head coach.

“‘There is no doubt in my mind that without Jim Boeheim, Syracuse Basketball would not be the powerhouse program it is today,’ says Chancellor Kent Syverud. ‘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.’”

There’s a lot we don’t know, but just a couple of observations: first, Boeheim was not quoted in this, which is a bit surprising. And second, it doesn’t say that he retired, just that his time “comes to an end,” which seems a bit odd. You’d think you’d want to celebrate him a bit more.

It was also quite abrupt, coming as it did a very short time after Syracuse lost a heartbreaker to Wake Forest in its ACC Tournament opener.

It’s worth mentioning that Greensboro, a frequent target of Boeheim’s, may not have been his preferred place to be when this news was announced.

Former Syracuse player and long-time assistant Adrian Autrey will take the reins. It’s not yet clear what he will do to bring the program into the modern era, but there is a lot of work to do to shake off the mustiness that the program has picked up. Whatever happens, it should be interesting.