SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim said assistant coach Mike Hopkins came to him “in tears” on Saturday afternoon and told him he had an “unbelievable opportunity” with a chance to coach the Washington Huskies.
“I was so happy because he was happy. That was my only thought,” said Boeheim. “Mike Hopkins is like a son to me.”
Both Boeheim and John Wildhack, Syracuse director of athletics, discussed the departure and what’s next for Syracuse basketball in a Monday afternoon press conference at the Carmelo K. Anthony Center on Syracuse’s south campus.
Syracuse in 2015 had designated Hopkins as the basketball program’s head coach-in-waiting as part of the school’s plan to have Boeheim, 72, step down following the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.
Wildhack was in Storrs, Connecticut on Saturday watching the Syracuse women’s basketball team defeat Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I received a call from Mike Hopkins late in the afternoon at which time he informed me that he would take the head-coach position at Washington,” Wildhack recalled in his remarks.
Syracuse on Sunday night announced it had agreed on a new contract with Boeheim, extending his tenure in the top job beyond the 2017-2018 season, just hours after Washington announced the hiring of Hopkins.
“Moving quickly was important for our current student-athletes as well as our future student-athletes,” Wildhack said about the extension while addressing local media members.
“Mike accepting that position clearly changed the dynamics of the succession plan that had been put into place and we have followed,” Wildhack added.
Syracuse didn’t release a timeline on the extension. Adam Zagoria, a “basketball insider” for SportsNet New York (SNY) on Sunday reported that the contract extends through the 2021-22 season, citing a source. That would mean Boeheim coaches Syracuse for another five seasons.
Besides Boeheim’s contract extension, Syracuse also announced the promotion of Adrian Autry to the position of associate head coach.
Both Autry and assistant coach Gerry McNamara, who will also remain with the staff, have been assistant coaches under Boeheim since the 2011-12 campaign.
Boeheim just completed his 41st season as head coach at Syracuse. He ranks second among Division I coaches in victories, trailing only Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. Boeheim owns the longest active streak of seasons with his current institution.
He has guided the Orange into the postseason 39 times during his tenure, including 32 NCAA Tournaments and seven NIT berths. Boeheim has coached Syracuse into the NCAA championship game three times and the Final Four five times. The Orange won the national title in 2003.
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PHOTO CAPTION: Syracuse University men’s basketball head coach Jim Boeheim (left) and John Wildhack, Syracuse director of athletics, on Monday addressed local media members at the Carmelo K. Anthony Center. (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN)