Syracuse, NY — For the past 17,161 days, Jim Boeheim has been the head men’s basketball coach at Syracuse University.
Syracuse made the right decision Wednesday to make sure today wasn’t day 17,162.
It was time.
Legacy can only carry you so far, and Syracuse men’s basketball did not live up to the standards Boeheim set in a legendary Hall of Fame career. The Orange are on the verge of failing to make either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT in back-to-back seasons for the first time in more than 50 years
While SU made the right call to move on from Boeheim on Wednesday, the way his exit was handled was a treatment unbecoming of a man who, for better or worse, was the university’s face for decades.
Boeheim almost dared Syracuse to move on from him after Syracuse’s 77-74 loss to Wake Forest in the ACC Tournament.
While it sounded like a man who was done working out, Boeheim reiterated after the game that it was Syracuse University’s decision whether he would continue to work out.
Syracuse eventually called its bluff.
A press release announcing Boeheim’s departure was posted less than three hours later.
Boeheim was out. His longtime assistant Adrian Autry was there.
The word “retirement” was not mentioned. Syracuse Chancellor Kent Syverud, Athletic Director John Wildhack and Autry are all quoted in it.
Not a word from Boeheim.
Forty-seven years in the head coaching job, anchored at SU since he moved on to the basketball team as a freshman from Lyons, New York in 1962, and the man gets a press release.
Even Paulie Cicero gave Henry Hill a bunch of money before turning his back on him in “Goodfellas.”
This felt more like the end of “The Sopranos”. It just… ended.
It was a difficult, rushed and confusing end to Boeheim’s tenure at SU.
Forty-seven years washed away in what felt like 47 minutes.
Boeheim deserves some of the blame for the unceremonious finish for sticking to his defiant brand until the last minute.
Boeheim stepped out of line too much this season in his role as a front-running recruit at Syracuse University.
His antics in confronting student journalists and an interview with ESPN’s Pete Thamel that produced more backtracking and apologies from Boeheim were embarrassing. He was reprimanded by the ACC for his behaviour.
Why Syracuse University finally chose yesterday of all days to finally stand up and claim the title of men’s basketball coaching back ring hollow after tolerating Boeheim’s antics for decades.
At least Boeheim spoke on Wednesday. It wasn’t a day for Syverud and Wildhack to hide behind a press release after making one of the most important decisions in Syracuse University history.
There will be more stories from this. Turmoil has a distinct scent.
Moving on from Boeheim was always going to be difficult. He’s as stubborn as they come, and pride prevented the word “retire” from leaving his mouth on Wednesday.
Syracuse knew this. It had years to prepare for this moment and still failed to stick the landing.
There will be celebrations ahead. Syracuse fans, alumni and former players will take it from here and thank Boeheim properly.
Boeheim certainly doesn’t need another pat on the back as he has received the highest praise and collection of accolades in a Hall of Fame career a coach can receive.
He still deserved a better exit from the school he gave his entire adult life to and built a basketball legacy that will shine forever here in Syracuse.
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