Jim Boeheim is officially no longer Syracuse’s men’s basketball coach.
But note: The school’s press release does not say he retired. And Boeheim is not quoted in the release. So …
Jim Boeheim: "I've been very lucky to coach this long. I think everyone missed my retirement speech last week. Nobody picked up on it… it's up to the University" pic.twitter.com/XbnTV1Zsuj
— The Field of 68 (@TheFieldOf68) March 8, 2023
It has been a rough season for Jim Boeheim.
Syracuse was a mediocre team in a mediocre ACC and the longtime coach spent a good part of the year fighting off retirement questions and feuding with student reporters. And Wednesday’s 77-74 conference tournament loss to Wake Forest on a buzzer-beater may have been the end of the road.
Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim hinted that Wednesday’s loss to Wake Forest in the ACC tournament could have been his last after 47 seasons as coach of the Orange.
“I gave my retirement speech last week and nobody picked up on it,” Boeheim said after the 77-74 loss on a 3-pointer by the Demon Deacons’ Daivien Williamson with 0.5 seconds remaining.
When pressed if it was, indeed, his final game at Syracuse, Boeheim wouldn’t say it directly.
“This is up to the university,” he said. “… I just said it. I don’t know. I said this is up to the university.”
When pressed further as to how he would make a decision about returning for another season, Boeheim simply stated that “you’re talking to the wrong guy.”
A surly jerk until the end. And maybe a brilliant one, too.
On one hand, Boeheim sounds like a guy who is done and just does not want to give the media the immediate satisfaction of confirming it. Or he is waiting to see if the Orange sneak into the NIT. On the other … he is more or less daring Syracuse to tell him he’s done. Which will be easier said than done for the university, given how complicated these things always are when it is time for the great man to go.
Boeheim turns 79 in November. He probably should have left in 2021, when he put together a nice run to the Sweet 16. But no one ever leaves when it’s time.
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James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.