The big wins and defining moments of Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse basketball tenure

The big wins and defining moments of Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse basketball tenure
The big wins and defining moments of Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse basketball tenure

Syracuse, NY – Jim Boeheim’s long tenure came to an end Wednesday when Syracuse University announced the Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach was out after 47 seasons and promoted assistant Adrian Autry to lead the program.

The 78-year-old Boeheim had been the longest tenured coach in college basketball and finishes his career second in Division I men’s coaching wins behind Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.

Here’s a timeline of key dates — including big wins and some low points — throughout Boeheim’s career, compiled from past reporting.

2 December 1963 – Jim Boeheim made his debut for the Syracuse basketball team as a sophomore in an 88-33 victory over Toronto. He would go on to average 5.2 points in his first season, starting one game.

March 11, 1966 – Syracuse won its first NCAA Tournament since 1957, capping Boeheim’s playing career with a 94-78 victory over Davidson. Boeheim had 14 points, making 7 of 9 shots, and the team advanced to the Elite Eight.

3 April 1976 – Three days after Roy Danforth took a job at Tulane, Syracuse University officially promoted Boeheim, his assistant at the time, to replace him. Boeheim’s pitch to give the job to an inexperienced head coach included the idea of ​​bringing two high-level recruits to Syracuse, Louis Orr and Roosevelt Bouie. Otherwise, he planned to train them in Rochester.

November 26, 1976 – Boeheim was a winner in the first game he coached for the Orange, with SU earning a 75-48 win over Harvard in Springfield, Mass., a fitting place to start a Hall of Fame career. Larry Kelley scored a team-high 12 points.

March 13, 1977 – Boeheim won the first NCAA Tournament game he coached, beating No. 7 Tennessee, 93-88 in overtime. The Orange got 22 points from Larry Kelley. Syracuse would go on to make 35 NCAA Tournament appearances under Boeheim. The tournament was just 32 teams at the time, so the win also pushed Syracuse to the first of 20 Sweet 16 appearances it made under Boeheim, whose zone defense would grow into a significant postseason weapon.

3 December 1977 – The birth of Boeheim’s reputation for being belligerent with reporters was born after a 75-67 victory over Michigan State in the Carrier Classic played at Manley Field House. Syracuse was led by Marty Byrnes, who scored 18 points. Local media members selected Magic Johnson as MVP. Even Johnson was surprised. Boeheim believed it was something that “would only happen in Syracuse.”

13 February 1980 – The rivalry between Syracuse and Georgetown was supercharged as the Hoyas beat Syracuse 52-50 in the final game at Manley Field House. Georgetown coach John Thompson III declared that “Manley Field House is officially closed”, starting a rivalry that captivated both fan bases for decades. The loss ended a 57-game winning streak for Syracuse in the building. The Hoyas would also go on to upset Syracuse in the Big East Tournament title game.

March 7, 1981 – In the second year of the Big East Conference, the Orange won its first conference tournament, a thrilling 83-80 victory in triple overtime over Villanova. Held in the Carrier Dome, the event helped Syracuse make a run as the No. 6 seed. Leo Rautins was named the event’s MVP, while Tony “Red” Bruin had 22 points in the title game.

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March 30, 1987 – Boeheim and Syracuse were robbed of a national title by Keith Smart’s jump shot with 4 seconds left. The Hoosiers earned a 74-73 victory behind 23 points from Steve Alford. Syracuse got 20 points and seven assists from Sherman Douglas.

March 19, 1988 – One of the most talented teams in Syracuse history would see its season end in a 97-94 loss to Rhode Island in the second round of the season. The Orange, led by three future NBA players in Sherman Douglas, Derrick Coleman and Rony Seikaly, entered the year as the preseason No. 1 seed.

March 26, 1989 – Another exceptionally talented Syracuse team was shut out before the Final Four, this time in a thrilling 89-86 Elite Eight loss to Illinois. The Orange featured a combination of Douglas, Coleman and Billy Owens. Douglas set the NCAA record for assists that season.

March 14, 1991 – One of the most disappointing games in Syracuse history ended a year in which the Orange were led by NBA-bound Billy Owens. After earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Orange bowed out with a 73-69 loss to Richmond. In the end, the NCAA failures would make the success that much sweeter.

1 October 1992 – Syracuse was found guilty of violating NCAA rules for the first time under Boeheim. The allegations included maintaining too close a relationship with a “street agent” named Rob Johnson and players accepting a number of impermissible benefits which included free meals, free transport, free accommodation and small amounts of cash. It also included a player who had his grade changed from an “F” to a “C” without following university guidelines.

March 30, 1996 – Syracuse advanced to its second national title game under Boeheim with a 77-69 win over Mississippi State. The Orange were led by 21 points from John Wallace. The Orange fell 76-67 to Kentucky in the national title game. It was a remarkable performance for Syracuse against one of the most loaded national champions in college basketball history. That included 29 points and 10 rebounds from John Wallace.

December 4, 2001 – Boeheim missed a game for the first time in his career, part of a three-game absence when he underwent surgery for prostate cancer. Boeheim initially asked for privacy, but went on to share her story in an effort to raise awareness and help raise money to fight cancer of all kinds. Coached by assistant coach Bernie Fine in his absence, the Orange went 1-2.

March 17, 2001 – Boheim won his 600th game during a 79-69 NCAA Tournament first-round victory over Hawaii. Damone Brown led the Orange with 20 points.

7 April 2003 – Syracuse won its only NCAA national championship in program history with an 81-78 win over Kansas in the title game. The Orange were led by Carmelo Anthony’s 20 points and got a block from Hakim Warrick with 2.4 seconds left to secure a title that changed Boeheim’s legacy.

26 February 2005 – Boeheim recorded his 700th career win in a 91-66 victory over Providence. Hakim Warrick scored a career-high 36 points in the contest. Boeheim became the 18th coach ever with 700 wins.

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September 10, 2005 – Boeheim was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. At the time, Boeheim had more than 700 career wins.

November 28, 2005 – Mike Krzyzewski appointed Boeheim as an assistant coach with the USA national team for the first time. Boeheim would be part of three Olympic gold medals for the United States.

March 8, 2006 – Boeheim went on his most infamous rant of all time, blasting anonymous Big East assistant coaches for calling Gerry McNamara the league’s most overrated player. McNamara had just scored 17 points in a Big East Tournament win over Cincinnati, and the team responded with three more wins for a surprise Big East Tournament title.

November 10, 2009 – Boeheim earned his 800th career win in the first game of the season, with Syracuse beating Albany, 75-43. He was one of eight coaches with 800 wins at the time. Arinze Onuaku scored 14 points.

12–13 March 2009: In a game for the ages, Syracuse outlasted Connecticut in six overtimes in the quarterfinals of the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden. “I’m speechless,” Boeheim said, describing the second-longest Division I game ever. Eric Devendorf nearly ended the game in regulation. However, his 3-point shot was determined to come after the buzzer.

November 27, 2011 – Syracuse University fired assistant coach Bernie Fine following allegations that he molested two former Syracuse ballboys. Fine had previously known Bobby Davis and Mike Lang, part of the reason why they were ballboys with the program. A week later, Boeheim accused them of being liars and making the claims as part of an effort to make money. Fine was never charged, and Boeheim settled a defamation suit. Two others who accused Fine of sexual assault later admitted they were lying.

December 17, 2012 – Boeheim became the third coach in college basketball history to reach 900 wins during a 72-68 victory over Detroit. He joined Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight.

1 February 2014 – In Syracuse’s first game against Duke as ACC rivals, the Orange won 91-89 in overtime, part of a 25-game winning streak to open the season. The Orange won their first 12 games in their new conference after leaving the Big East behind. Three weeks later, the Orange lost 66-60 at Duke, with a charge against CJ Fair leading to Boeheim being ejected from the game – and his famous jacket toss.

March 6, 2015 – The NCAA found Syracuse guilty of violating NCAA rules for the second time in the Boeheim era, specifically when a member of the coaching staff and a member of Boeheim’s administrative staff gave Fab Melo too much academic help in an attempt to get him academically failed qualified. The organization vacated 101 Syracuse — and thus Boeheim — wins, suspended the head coach nine games and placed recruiting restrictions on the Orange. These restrictions hampered Orange over the next few years.

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March 27, 2016 – Malachi Richardson donned the 3-point glasses and scored 23 points to lead Syracuse back from a 15-point deficit against Virginia. The upset win propelled Syracuse to the last Final Four of the Jim Boeheim era. It was a satisfying response for Syracuse fans, who came in the wake of sanctions that many consider unfair.

February 4, 2017 – Boeheim reached the unofficial 1,000-win barrier during a 66-62 upset win over Virginia. When the school and Boeheim were unable to formally celebrate the milestone due to NCAA rules surrounding vacant victories, the Carrier Dome crowd celebrated for him and rushed the field.

March 19, 2017 – Syracuse assistant coach Mike Hopkins took the head coaching job at the University of Washington, scrapping a plan that would have seen him replace Boeheim as head coach next season. The university signed Boeheim to a contract extension, setting the stage for mixed results as the head coach retired.

21 March 2021 – Even as the success of the Syracuse program began to wane toward the end of Boeheim’s career, the Orange maintained a reputation as a team you didn’t want to play in the postseason. Boeheim’s zone defense regularly confounded opponents unaccustomed to it, including West Virginia. The Orange beat the Mountaineers, 75-72, to advance to the last of Boeheim’s 20 Sweet 16 appearances.

March 10, 2022 – An 88-79 loss to Duke in the ACC Tournament meant Syracuse finished 16-17, ending the season with a losing record for the only time in Boeheim’s 47 seasons as a head coach. The game also marked the end of the college careers of Boeheim’s two sons, Jimmy and Buddy.

19 November 2022 – Boeheim reached 1,000 NCAA career wins during a 76-48 win over Northeastern. He is one of only two Division I men’s coaches to hit that mark.

March 4, 2023 – With members of the 2003 NCAA championship team on hand for the 20th anniversary celebration, Boeheim coaches his final home game on the field that bears his name. Syracuse defeats Wake Forest, 72-63 on a day Gerry McNamara and Hakim Warrick, two heroes of the championship victory, see their jerseys raised to the rafters.

March 8, 2023 – Boeheim coached his last game as head coach for Syracuse University, finishing his career with a record of 1,115-441. The Orange fell in the first round of the ACC Tournament to Wake Forest, 77-74.


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