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Boeheim embraces retirement in press conference, will help Syracuse athletics moving forward

Former Syracuse University men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim on Friday addressed the gathering at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center for the introduction of his successor, Adrian Autry. Boeheim said he’s “thrilled to be retired” and will continue working with Syracuse University in a role to be determined. (Eric Reinhardt / CNYBJ)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Saying he’s “thrilled to be retired,” former Syracuse University men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim said he’s “felt better the last two days than I’ve felt in 47 years.”

Boeheim on Friday morning offered some final remarks as part of the press event at the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center to introduce Adrian Autry as next coach of the Syracuse men’s basketball program, succeeding Boeheim, his former coach.

In his remarks, Boeheim said he wanted to clarify some details about his departure that may have been misunderstood in the past few days following Wednesday’s announcement.


The long-time coach said he was thankful for the “unwavering” support over the last few years, acknowledging that the time period included both “good” and “not great” moments.

“After coaching my sons [Buddy and Jimmy] last year, I felt that I should coach this group … of young players,” he said, referring to this season’s Syracuse men’s team that featured six freshmen.

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud and John Wildhack, director of athletics at Syracuse University, agreed, Boeheim noted.

The now-former coach went to say that, for most of this year, he really didn’t think about retirement. But then added, “I thought about it this year, and, obviously when we hit the stretch [four game losing streak to end February]… I didn’t coach very good. We didn’t play very good and we lost those four games, I felt that this was the time.”

Boeheim said he spoke to Wildhack about it on March 3. He also noted that the timing of the post-game press conference following the Syracuse’s season-ending loss to Wake Forest in the ACC tournament was “unfortunate.” At the time, Boeheim said, that he, Syverud, and Wildhack hadn’t had a chance to discuss a “solution,” or what was next for Boeheim at Syracuse beyond coaching.

During the post-game press conference, Boeheim repeatedly told reporters that his future was up to Syracuse.

“We had nothing to say other than this has to be worked out,” Boeheim added. “We met for 45 minutes [Thursday] afternoon. Everything was worked out. Most everything … I will work with John [Wildhack]. I’ll work with the Chancellor.”

He went on to say, “I’m so thrilled to be at this university and continue. I wouldn’t know what else to do anyway.”

Boeheim thanked all the players and coaches he’s worked with in his 47 years. He also thanked his family and said the last 26 years wouldn’t have been possible without his wife, Juli, and choked up as he made the comment, calling her “the best wife a coach could ever have” and applause followed.

He also thanked the fans, who Boeheim noted came to the games no matter the weather conditions.

“That’s what Syracuse basketball is. It’s not me. It won’t be Adrian,” Boeheim said.

In introducing Boeheim, Wildhack began his remarks by saying, “Coach Boeheim, congratulations on a remarkable career.”

Wildhack’s comment was greeted with applause from those gathered in the Melo Center.

“It’s the end of an amazing era that has helped define not only Syracuse athletics but this whole university and this whole region,” Syverud said. “Few people can say these days that they began and finished their career in one place. And even fewer can claim to have had the transformative effect and success that we celebrate today.”

Wildhack indicated that Boeheim’s future role would include participating in Syracuse Athletics’ fundraising efforts. The former coach has proven to be a prodigious fundraiser on the charity front, including helping raise millions of dollars for cancer research.



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