The Syracuse University men’s basketball team announced that Hall of Fame head coach Jim Boeheim is out after 47 seasons and that longtime assistant Adrian Autry will take over the helm.
The team released a statement on Wednesday soon after SU suffered a 77-74 loss to Wake Forest in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament. There was no mention in the release that Boeheim is retiring.
Boeheim had left his future status in question and in the hands of the university in the postgame press conference.
The 78-year-old Boeheim exits after 35 NCAA Tournament appearances since taking over in 1976, including the 2003 national championship, and five Final Four trips.
Boeheim is credited with 1,015 career wins to officially rank second all-time in NCAA Division I, not including the 101 on-court victories vacated by the NCAA.
“I’ve just been so lucky to be able to coach at Syracuse, a place I love, a place I love to live, people keep wondering about that but maybe that’s a flaw I have,” said Boeheim, the 1966 graduate who began as a walk-on player at SU, after what proved to be his final game.
“But I’ve lived in Syracuse my whole life, and I’ll live there hopefully a long time into the future. I think it’s a great place. I think sometimes the negativity comes to the forefront, and that’s life, that’s there, but I’ve just been unbelievably fortunate to keep this job.”
Autry played for SU under Boeheim as a guard from 1990-94 and was hired as an assistant coach for the 2011-12 season.
“There have been very few stronger influences in my life than Syracuse University and Jim Boeheim,” Autry expressed in the team announcement. “They have both played such important roles and without either of them, I am certain I would not have this incredible opportunity before me.”
Boeheim, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005, played for the Orange from 1963-66 and was hired as a graduate assistant in 1969, promoted to assistant coach in 1972 and head coach four years later.
In his postgame press conference Wednesday, Boeheim declined to definitively state his intentions moving forward but left it up to the university and was reflective in tone.
He referenced recent ACC coaches that stepped down — Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, and Mike Brey, who is leaving Notre Dame after the season — returning to work in different roles at their respective programs and said he hoped to eventually talk with SU on the topic.
Boeheim said he was initially undecided on returning for this past season but wanted to fulfill promises made to his six-player freshman class that he’d be their coach during the recruiting process.
“Mike Brey is thrilled that he was at Notre Dame for 23 years, he’s a puppy,” Boeheim said afterward. “I’ve had 47 years. I got to coach my sons. Two years ago we were in the Sweet 16, and last year I got to coach my sons, we had a great team. I loved that team, if Jesse (Edwards) hadn’t gotten hurt, would have obviously done better, but that happens.”
Autry has worked most closely with SU forwards during his 11 seasons on the coaching staff and has long been a key aid to Boeheim in recruiting.
“I have spent much of my time in the game of basketball learning from Jim and am so grateful to him for preparing me to carry on the winning tradition that is Orange basketball,” Autry expressed in the team statement. “It’s hard to imagine a world without him on the bench, but together with our coaches, student-athletes and fans, we will build on decades of success as a winning program.”
Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack and chancellor Kent Syverud each commended Boeheim for building SU into a national power in the statement announcing his departure.
“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,” Syverud stated. “I extend my deep appreciation and gratitude to an alumnus who epitomizes what it means to be ‘Forever Orange.’”
Wildhack added: “Jim Boeheim is synonymous with excellence, grit, and determination. Jim is a rare breed of coach, building a program that is among the best in college basketball for nearly five decades. I am incredibly grateful for what he’s done.”
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