Why Did Syracuse Have To Force Boeheim To Leave?
'Thank you but we'll take it from here' was the message to a legendary college basketball coach with the second most collegiate wins ever. Jim Boeheim's 47-year coaching career put Syracuse basketball on the map. However, Boeheim's tenure wasn't without controversy, including its ending.
Following a last-second 77-74 loss to Wake Forest, it was abundantly clear in the post-game press conference that Jim Boeheim wanted to return next season.
Boeheim told ESPN.com, "As I've said from day one when I started working here, the university hired me, and it's their choice what they want to do...I always have the choice of retirement, but it's their decision as to whether I coach or not. It always has been." So, why wouldn't Syracuse University allow their storied coach to do a one-year farewell tour, like Duke did with Mike Krzyzewski?
The simple answer is that for the last few decades, Jim Boeheim has never let Syracuse University officials do anything on the institution's terms, why start now? For the last 10 years, Boeheim alluded to iron-clad transition plans for his pending retirement, only to watch each be explained away with distain for questioning him. Sometimes collegiate institutions and coaches need to go their separate ways. Coaches take ownership of a program. Institutions look at athletics as a piece of the puzzle. Sometimes those perspectives aren't good for one another. After 47 years, Syracuse saw the value of a change and made a decision. I am sure they wished their coach would have gracefully accepted their plan. However, in true Boeheim fashion, he made the university publicly push him out the door.
Jim Boeheim has been a winning basketball coach and a mentor to many Syracuse Orange players. However, in 2015 the NCAA vacated 101 of Boeheim's victories for over a decade of violations that included academic misconduct, extra benefits to student-athletes and misconduct involving the university drug testing policy. Over the last year, the legendary coach has become increasingly combative with the media. None of this is good for a university that houses one of the top sports media programs in the country. It was time for Syracuse University to step-in and give their basketball program a fresh start.
Adrian Autry, who played four seasons for Boehiem was the administrations long-time choice to take-over. "There have been very few stronger influential forces in my life than Syracuse University and Jim Boeheim. They have both played such important roles and without either of them, I am certain I would not have this incredible opportunity before me," Autry told ESPN.com. Best of luck to Coach Autry and the new era of Syracuse Basketball that started on Wednesday night.