Orange Fizz


Where Were You When… Team Fizz Recalls The Moment Boeheim Retired


I and the rest of the WAER Sports contingent had just returned to our hotel from the Greensboro Coliseum. I was getting ready for a quick workout in the hotel gym when the news broke. It took about a triple take before I realized what happened. Then we had to hit the Twitter Space.

I called Jim Boeheim’s last half of basketball, attended his last press conference and listened to his not-so-veiled comments about his future. At the time, I thought Boeheim was just being Boeheim, teasing us journalists with the thought of him hanging it up. Afterwards, I realized there was something more to it. Jim had never been this retrospective, this thankful, in any press conference I attended. He even asked for one more question! I don’t think anyone in the room could’ve made sense of it at the moment, but now, it’s easy to put the puzzle pieces together.


I was walking home after hosting a postgame show at CitrusTV. We covered the sound bite but didn’t full out declare that Boeheim has retired. I was a couple hundred feet from my house when I saw a tweet pop up and was very surprised. It seemed like Coach Boeheim was just deflecting and never made a statement about his future, just very vague. To learn on Twitter was pretty disheartening, this should’ve been handled differently.


Wow, I’m still in shock. As someone who considers him as psychological in thinking, this was one of those flashbulb memories or in other words, a “where were you when that happened” type of moment that will always stick in my mind. Unfortunately I wasn’t in any story-worthy spot, but that’s the beauty of the unexpected. I just got home after a couple classes and was lazily deciding between making a real meal or throwing together a quesadilla. I chose the latter while simultaneously charging my phone, as it just died. In the middle of pouring oil into a pan and constructing the quesadilla, one of my roommates came out of his room upstairs and walked halfway down the stairs. Granted his door had been locked so I had no clue he was even home. The next thing I hear is “Cam, I’m in the middle of a midterm right now, but just wanted to tell you that Jim Boeheim is retiring and Adrian Autry is Syracuse’s next head coach.” I ran over to the stairs and looked at the tweet he was flashing in my direction. To think that my phone was dead at the most inopportune time, when the biggest news in Syracuse sports history dropped, is still crazy to think about. But more importantly, this scenario single-handedly increased the shock factor I felt toward the news, because feeling caught off guard is still how I feel as I write this. Then I stopped and just said “wow” over and over again, partially burning my quesadilla as a result.


I was at home taking care of some to-do list items when Boeheim first began his Wake Forest postgame presser. I had been in class and couldn’t watch the ACC Tournament game, but I knew what had happened and had seen the buzzer beater. When people started taking notice of Boeheim’s answers that sounded like a “retirement speech”, I jumped on The Fizz to host a space and analyze what he meant. Nobody quite knew what to make of it, and the best I could do was share his quotes and prompt opinions from listeners. I hadn’t had the chance to listen to his presser in the moment and hadn’t realized how contentious it had gotten at times, so I didn’t understand quite how strange the whole event was. I walked away feeling that Boeheim was going to step aside during the offseason, but I never considered for a moment that he would do it that same evening. 

I was simply killing time at home when I first saw tweets from Syracuse-area writers referencing the Boeheim-Autry press release, but I stopped everything I was doing to help our coverage. To know now that I not only covered Boeheim’s last collegiate win for The Fizz last Saturday but also filmed what he later called his retirement speech is surreal.


Sitting in the Newhouse cafeteria doing work and killing time between afternoon classes, I had just finished the second of three prompts of a midterm essay, and headed to Twitter, where I scrolled for minutes. Then, Liam stumbles upon my table, where we have a hypothetical conversation about what happens to Jim Boeheim, and not five minutes after he departs, the press release is sent and the Syracuse world is sent to chaos. I read the release three times, not believing it, even after Boeheim’s press conference told the whole story, but this confirmed it. It was the confirmation Adrian Autry was taking over, but it was confirmation that the only coach who we’ve all ever known is no more, and things are about to change. Change is scary, but we have to embrace that fear and move forward, and that’s the challenge for Syracuse under Autry. Changing enough to become relevant again, but not getting too far away from the identity Boeheim built, and keep the fire burning under Syracuse fans to come to the Dome and bleed Orange. It was a surreal moment, and one none of us will ever forget.


It was one of those moments where your day comes to a screeching halt. On my way out of class I bumped into my fellow Fizz staffer Ethan Frank and we talked about his press conference and how cool it would be to potentially have Boeheim’s final season be our senior year. Well, that became a moot point a few minutes later. After talking to Ethan, I went to the gym to go for a run. As I was lacing my running shoes, I got the Twitter notification and my jaw dropped. Overcome with disbelief, I proceeded to sprint across campus to a Newhouse editing booth to do our instant reaction Twitter Space. It completely altered the course of my day and week.

That said, it didn’t feel real until I woke up this morning. The initial shock of it had my mind in a million different places doing something for one media outlet and another thing for a different one to help cover the story. But as I began my day, it hit me. This glorified era of Syracuse Basketball is over. We have no idea what to expect in the future. If the past few years of college basketball have taught us anything, it’s that the game is adapting. It caught up to Roy Williams, Coach K, and Jay Wright, now it’s caught up to Boeheim. Welcome to a new era.


I had just gotten home from WAER, after working on both the game and postgame broadcasts of what ended up being Jim Boeheim’s final game. It was an interesting day to say the least, from the final shot, to seeing press conference quotes that made you feel like the end was inevitable, and finally to the announcement itself. 

It made me reflect on what it is that I get to do. If I told my 10-year-old self that I got to call games coached by Jim Boeheim and ask him questions in a postgame press conference, I wouldn’t have believed it. Coach Boeheim was always gracious to me. I asked him somewhere in the range of 10-15 questions and never got a single bad response. After this year’s Virginia game in the Dome, I asked Coach about Chris Bell getting pulled early. He allowed me to ask not one, but two follow up questions which made me feel like I actually belonged in that room. I’ll always have the utmost respect for Coach Boeheim, both as a coach and a person.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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