900 wins. Only two Division 1 coaches have ever crossed that plateau. Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim might cross it tonight when the Detroit Titans visit the Carrier Dome in the second game of the Gotham Classic.
Boeheim loves to play the role of the unimpressed curmudgeon about these kinds of things. Here he was after win No. 300 over St. Francis in 1988:
"It doesn't matter. We're just trying to concentrate on the game. I don't think anybody in any business should be looking back. You have to look ahead."
And here he is after winning his 600th game, an NCAA Tourney win over Hawaii:
"It just proves if you stay around a long time, anyone can get lucky."
However, even he can't deny the enormity of the feat:
"It’s a shocking number," Boeheim said last week in an exclusive interview. "I remember when I was at 100 and I looked at Adolph Rupp (with 876) and said, ‘Well, that’s never going to happen. Ever. Impossible.’
"When I got to 800, I felt it was quite a milestone. But 900 is really big."
As a Syracuse fan, I'll let others be impressed by the numbers. What I admire most is Boeheim's unwavering dedication to the program that he might not have built but he certainly turned into one of the most-consistent and winningest in history.
In case you need a refresher of how we got here...
1st win - November 26th, 1976 (Harvard, 75-48)
100th win - March 9th, 1980 (Villanova, 97-83)* 1st coach to win 100 games in first four seasons
200th win - February 14th, 1985 (Seton Hall, 94-62)
300th win - December 30th, 1988 (St. Francis, PA, 105-63)
400th win - January 9th, 1993 (Miami, 89-81)
500th win - February 22, 1997 (Rutgers 92-62)
600th win - March 16th, 2001 (Hawaii 79-69)* 1st round of NCAA Tournament
700th win - February 26th, 2005 (Providence, 91-66)
800th win - November 9th, 2009 (Albany, 75-43)
Like so many wins before it and the (hopefully) many more to come, Boeheim will downplay. Besides, he's got a Bob Knight-tying 902nd ahead as well as a Bob Knight-passing 903rd to come. At his current pace, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he could still be here in four or five years for win No. 1,000. But wherever he tops out, it's going to be impressive and amazing.
One last thing...if Syracuse wins, will there be a t-shirt celebrating the win? Why do you still ask dumb questions?