Not many coaches have fairytale endings, just ask Mike Krzyzewski, whose celebration season of a retirement ended with a loss in the Final Four to his biggest rival. Same with Roy Williams, who abruptly retired from North Carolina in a very emotional press conference. Same with Jay Wright, who also decided to retire seemingly out of nowhere and go do television. Jim Boeheim had one of the more interesting retirements, where it was not sure what was happening, a press release announcing a new head coach came out, and then finally everything was cleared up.
Since those fateful days in March, Boeheim has still been out and about, doing things around the Central New York area and around the country, offering quotes for stories, such as the one about zone defense among other things. But, in relation to his retirement and how things went down, it’s been mostly quiet since early March, as the former head coach is taking the spotlight off himself, and letting Adrian Autry work, because in his own words:
“This is strictly I don’t think we’ve won enough games the last two years,” Boeheim told syracuse.com.
Hard to argue with that logic, as the last two seasons have been some of the worst in Syracuse history, and in Boeheim’s 47-year tenure as head coach. The Orange won just 33 total games the last two seasons and finished an average of 196th in kenpom’s defensive efficiency rating.
“What I’d always told my staff was, ‘If we’re not winning, if we’re not doing good enough, that’s when I’ll go,’ ” Boeheim said to syracuse.com. “And we just weren’t good enough.”
In regards to how things played out in March with his cryptic press conference after the Wake Forest game, the subsequent announcement of Autry as head coach, and finally a press conference for his own retirement, Boeheim wishes things had been a bit smoother, but are fine now.
“I wish we had worked it out sooner,” the former coach said to syracuse.com. “But we didn’t. It was awkward just because it had to be worked out.”
There were rumors swirling that the chancellor had some involvement in this decision, and that the two would have to work together to finalize Boeheim’s new role, but the Hall of Famer said that dealing with the university, whether that be the chancellor, board of trustees, and more alumni will be difficult at times.
“There’s always some people who are against you at a university. At the alumni level, the trustee level. They think we should be winning 30 games. And that’s fine,” Boeheim said to syracuse.com. “The season didn’t go as well as I would have hoped. I’m sure there were people who would want a change. That might be true. But the reality is I felt that this was a good time.”
Boeheim seems happy in retirement, he can go golfing and fish, but basketball will still always be number one in his heart. It would not be a surprise to get his thoughts on how SU is playing come December or January, but he could also be off the grid. We’ll just have to wait and find out.
“I mean, if I was 50, I would have wanted to keep going,” Boeheim said. “But we weren’t good enough and that was enough. Buddy said to me, ‘Dad, you’ve proven everything. You don’t have anything left to prove.’ ”