You Don't Appreciate Jim Boeheim's Loyalty, You Appreciate His Complacency

Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE

The more you compare Doug Marrone, or any coach, to Jim Boeheim, the less your argument holds water.

My grandfather got out of the Navy after World War II, got a job with a printing company and never left until the day he retired (as the owner) when he was in his sixties.

My Dad (now 65) has worked for plenty of companies in his life but when I was a kid, he worked for the same one for 15 years straight. It was Toys R'Us and the company picnics were amazing. They'd send every kid into a room full of toys and say, "Pick two, whatever you want." To a 12-year-old, it might as well have been heaven.

I'm now 34, going on 13 years out of Syracuse. In that time, I've worked for ten employers, not counting various odd and part-time jobs. The longest amount of time I've spent with one company? About three years.

I can't speak for everyone, certainly not for a generation or other generations, but I feel like the way that my grandfather, father and myself approach the idea of employment reflects the general sense amongst most Americans.

I bring all of this up as Syracuse Orange football fans wish Doug Marrone and Nate Hackett a fond, or not-so-fond, farewell. The duo have packaged up their services and left Syracuse for the Buffalo Bills. On a professional level, I dare anyone to question that decision. On an emotional level, it feels a bit like your longtime boyfriend/girlfriend breaking up with you, immediately getting into another relationship and then telling all your friends that this new person is "the one." It sucks, so, I feel your pain.

I've seen a lot of comments from various SU fans over the last couple days. Doug Marrone is disloyal. He has no integrity. He has no honor. He's a scumbag. All of that died down Tuesday...that is, until we found out he was taking the Hack Attack with him. And then it started all over again. They're a bunch of dirtbags who went back on their word and left their players & fans in the lurch. Or so some say.

The problem for any coach who comes to Syracuse, no matter the sport, is that you will always be compared to Jim Boeheim. The patron saint of Syracuse Athletics, Boeheim is a beacon of loyalty that rarely exists today. In fact, I'm pretty sure he's the only one left. A player for Syracuse in the 60's he returned as an assistant coach in the early 70's, assumed control of the program in the mid-70's and never let go, turning SU Basketball from a quality regional program into a national powerhouse.

All the while, we like to say, Boeheim could have left. He almost never took the SU job to begin with, leaning toward Rochester before SU extended an offer. Ohio State apparently offered him the job once. And just the other day, Boeheim said that had a couple things happened differently, he might be coaching in the NBA right now.

The generally-accepted idea is that loyalty kept Boeheim here all these years. And the generally-accepted idea is a bunch of nonsense.

Jim Boeheim didn't stay at Syracuse because he is loyal. He stayed because he's complacent. A tireless worker and teacher on the court, James Arthur Boeheim is a serious lazybones off of it. And when you have the power you have after working here for 30+ years, that's not something a guy like him trades in for anything.

Boeheim is the son of a funeral home director. Good, steady work if you can get it. Not the kind of business you take for granted and not the kind of business you bounce around in. I don't know Boeheim personally so I can't say exactly how he ticks, but, I imagine that had a major influence on the way he came up.

Just like my grandfather, the son of Jewish immigrants who scratched and clawed their way to a living in NYC. You found work and you clung to it with dear life until you were integral.

Meanwhile, Doug Marrone's of the next generation. Accountability and integrity are important but personal growth and success are more important than past generations. Not content to be just another cog in the machine, Marrone wants to make his mark. So it only makes sense that, having mostly conquered this one, he's off to the next challenge.

Just like my Dad, one of three sons of post-war America, who were promised that all of their dreams could one day come true with hard work and determination.

It's impossible to compare any Syracuse coach to Jim Boeheim and expect anything but disappointment. Because unlike Boeheim, just about any coach that comes to SU from here on out will bring with them their own hopes, dreams, expectations and ideas of success. They don't make very many coaches like Jim anymore, who see success and contentment as equal things. Value that but don't expect it of anyone else.

I appreciate what Doug Marrone and Nate Hackett did while at SU. I look forward to seeing what Scott Shafer, now going into his fifth season with Syracuse, can do while here. I put no expectations on how long he'll be the head coach. As the Doug Marrone Era taught us, a lot can change in a year or two. Hell, a lot can change within that same year. Whatever comes of The Scott Shafer Era, I'm not going to hold him to any expectation other than winning football games.

Longevity? Loyalty? Long-term mortgages? That's Jim Boeheim's business and Jim Boeheim's business alone.

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