This is where we hold them! This is where we fight! This is where Albany dies! - Jim Boeheiminis, The Battle of Syracuse (2009 A.D.)
Bob Knight, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Phelan, Eddie Sutton and Jim Calhoun. They're the only coaches in college basketball history to win at least 800 games. And, short of a meltdown on the proportion of the LeMoyne game, Jim Boeheim will join them tonight in that elite category.
Boeheim has been his usual muted self about the whole thing. He admits to the gravity of the situation but refuses to think about the fanfare. Typical Boeheim. He's just got too much going on to stop and revel in it.
I mean, I’m proud of it. But I just think about this season. And then I think about recruiting and next year. And then I think about some other Olympic basketball related stuff. And the rest of the time, I think about my family. I don’t think I have much time to think about much of anything else. I’m proud of it, it’s crossed my mind, it’s a nice thing. 800 – you never think you’re going to win 800 games. When you start out coaching, you don’t think you’re going to get past a couple hundred probably. I remember thinking about Adolph Rupp’s 800 when I first started out and thinking ‘That’s impossible.’ I remember thinking ‘That’s 40 years of winning 20 games.’
Boeheim does remember Win #1. It was a 75-48 win over Harvard and he can even remember some of the statistics and plays involved.
John Brennan over at Orange44 remembers where he was for #700, which seems like just yesterday...
The Orange beat the Friars that day 91-66, on the day the Dome said goodbye to Hakim Warrick, Josh Pace, and Craig Forth. And again, there were tons of placards in the stands, this time reading "700." I remember being in Sitrus that day, feeling glad that he was able to get that win at home so he could celebrate it with 32,804 of his closest friends. Unfortunately, Dr. Gross and Chancellor Cantor had to be part of it. Still, clearly another great milestone for a great man who has only known Syracuse in his coaching career.
Boeheim remains a vital part of the college process even today. Just ask Rick Pitino, who is still trying to figure out how Boeheim and the Orange recruiters stole Fab Melo out from underneath him.
"Recruiting is where you lose the eye of the tiger, and that son-of-a-gun has not lost the eye of the tiger," Pitino said at Big East media day last month. "I wish he would lose it because he beat my ass out on that kid."
In fact, all of the SU coaches had a little something to say about Boeheim in his quest for 800. Almost all of them showed their admiration and respect, including Jim Calhoun who spoke as one curmudgeon praising another curmudgeon.
"One, it means he’s an old bastard. Two, he’s not going to be happy about it. Except for Juli and his children, nothing seems to bring him happiness. And third, I just think for a guy who when I came into the league was only winning 25 a year and everybody thought he couldn’t coach, which I thought was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard, but he’s been an incredible barometer of what a successful coach can do over a long period of time."
And then there's Georgeown's John Thompson III:
It’s extremely unusual to get 800 wins.
Yes. Unusual. Thanks?
As for the game itself tonight, the Orange will likely not be playing too much man-to-man. However, if there's anything to be learned from the LeMoyne loss, it's that M2M is a huge area that needs work now. And of course, lacking a lot of the old leadership, this team needs to grow up in a hurry.
"One thing that I felt with this team coming into this year was that they’re very young mentally,’’ Boeheim said. "They really have got to grow up mentally and physically.’’
The Great Danes finished 15-16 last year but have two very explosive players in guard Tim Ambrose and forward Will Harris. Still, there's little reason to fear that tonight won't be a celebration of all things Jim Boeheim.
|Jim Boeheim Talks About The Importance of 800 Wins|