Don’t lie and say you haven’t thought about it. And yes, this scenario was far more likely before Mike Hopkins was named “Head Coach Designate.” But let’s not pretend this isn’t something Jim Boeheim wouldn’t pull off. Maybe he doesn’t leave during the middle of the season, but he could retire at an unexpected time.
Yes, Jim Boeheim said he “intends” to retire following the 2017-2018 season. But he also said in the news conference that he doesn’t want a farewell tour, which would inevitably happen at certain colleges, with certain coaches in that third season—I’m looking towards good friend Coach K down at Duke.
In a unique scenario, maybe Boeheim decides he doesn’t want to coach anymore in, say, September of 2016 after coming home from Rio. He would never get to “say goodbye” to the Carrier Dome and Syracuse fans as the coach of the Orange, but the program would be in safe hands. And the program would already have a plan as to what it would do. This is much different than when Jim Calhoun left UCONN with their pants down and handed the job to Kevin Ollie who was given a one-year deal, essentially an interim coach without being called that. Ollie did well enough to keep the job and won a title in his second year.
This is not that. This is not even Bo Ryan’s exit at Wisconsin earlier this week. Ryan had said he would retire at year end, then said he may not. And in the end, wanted to give his long time assistant a shot at the job before the athletic director went and hired someone else.
If Boeheim were to pull a sudden retirement, it would be much more like Steve Spurrier’s decision at South Carolina, where he just doesn’t want to do it anymore. And honestly, this shouldn’t be something that we should be surprised on blindsided by. Boeheim is going to go when Boeheim wants to go, regardless of the circumstances.
A thought popped into my head before the year, one that I semi-joked about with some friends. Would it surprise anyone if Boeheim served his suspension and before coming back said, “I kind of enjoyed that time away” and just decided not to come back. Now, that isn’t going to happen. But before the year, it didn’t seem so ridiculous.
When Boeheim wants to retire, Boeheim will retire. And I don’t necessarily know if that means it will come at the end of a season. Let’s just not be blindsided by an abrupt exit.
Posted By: Seth Goldberg