It’s no secret Jim Boeheim isn’t the happy-go-lucky type. He’s not the type to keep his cool when a ref makes a bad call. He’s not the type to even smile that much. Boeheim doesn’t seem like he’s that happy of a person, whether it be on the court, talking to the media, or in everyday life. The only time you’ll see a smile on his face is when he is in a commercial and that’s only because he’s getting paid.
This year, in his 44th season, Boeheim seems even more grouchy.
With a young, inexperienced team there have been problems. A rocky 6-5 start is one of the worst in his tenure and he’s not happy with it, which can be expected. But instead of coaching through the issues, he is throwing around blame. First it started with how they scheduled games.
Then Boeheim moved on to blame the players.
Most recently, the head man has called out the Syracuse fans.
Boeheim said the crowd participation during SU’s game against Oakland this week was ‘sickening.’ The comment sent waves through the Syracuse community and caused an uproar. Much of the Orange faithful were mad and hurt from what the coach said.
It’s important to note that the attendance in the Dome against Oakland was 16,394 people. That is the smallest home crowd of the season, but the university is on break right now, so students did not fill their section.
Since his comments about the SU fans, Boeheim has backtracked and tried to explain himself by sending out this tweet.
Boeheim has every right to be upset. A head coach shouldn’t be happy with losing and his team playing poorly. It’s not expected that he walk into the post game press conference after a loss with a big grin on his face, but there is a way to go about it that doesn’t hurt the team and community.
Take Dino Babers for example. Syracuse football had a disappointing season this year too, but he never placed blame on one specific person after games or while talking to the media. He was always respectful and said the entire team or a specific unit had to improve. That is the type of leadership SU basketball needs.
44 years of coaching has worn on Boeheim, but if he wants to be successful, he can’t be blaming others. First, it looks really bad on him. It makes him seem like an insecure coach that can’t take blame and say that he messed up or he hasn’t done enough, which is probably the case because good coaches don’t make excuses, they just coach around deficiencies.
Second, his choice to blame the players kills morale and is not an effective way to make the players better. Being supportive and helping them through the issues is how things get fixed. Imagine being a player who just lost a game, but you tried your best to win. Then your head coach goes out to the media and tells them that you aren’t good and it’s your fault. That would make you feel horrible about yourself, which would damage your confidence, making you play even worse. That’s not helpful. Not to mention, blaming the players makes for a really awkward and disjointed locker room.
Finally, blaming the community is just a downright bad idea. The Syracuse area loves SU basketball and is one of the most loyal fan bases in the country. They have supported Boeheim for 44 years. For him to blame the team’s poor performance on the fans for not being loud enough, even though it was a game during school break, is a serious slap to the face.
Syracuse fans have gotten used to grumpy Boeheim in his later years and have accepted him. But his actions this season have been worse than usual and they are a reason why the team is struggling. It’s hard, but sometimes he needs to look in the mirror and take some of the blame himself. He also needs to learn how to not assign blame in public, and instead discuss it in private and in a way that doesn’t belittle and embarrass his players in public. These solutions won’t lead to Syracuse automatically winning every game, but they are a start.