Memory is a funny thing. You know how we all remember Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah's couch like a crazy person? We can all picture it, right? The weird thing is, it didn't happen. At least, that specific moment. It's true. Cracked recounted the whole thing and how the way we digested edited clips from the event influenced the way we remember it.
I was reminded of that when I took a look back at the initial announcement regarding Jim Boeheim's planned retirement by 2018. On the heels of an NCAA investigation and violations that cost Daryl Gross his job, Chancellor Syverud also told reporters that Jim Boeheim would retire within three years.
But actually, he didn't. At least, he didn't say it like that.
Coach Boeheim has assured me that he will respond thoughtfully and appropriately to the serious findings of the Infractions Committee Report. Coach Boeheim has also told me that he intends to retire as Head Coach in three years. His goal in making this decision and announcement now is to bring certainty to the team and program in the coming years, and enable and plan for a successful, longer-term transition in coaching leadership. Coach Boeheim's commitment to ensuring that the men's basketball program remains strong even after his tenure is just one more example of his deep loyalty to our University.
"Intends to..." That sounds a helluva lot more flexible than saying the plan is set in stone, which is how most of us have come to remember it (and talk about it).
Of course even if he had said that Boeheim "must" retire in three years it still wouldn't have convinced me that Jimmy B would actually retire when he said he would. Now that I am reminded of the verbiage actually used, I know for sure that Jim Boeheim is going to coach at Syracuse University until he physically cannot do so any longer.
The nine-game suspension really seemed to be torture for Boeheim and it wouldn't be surprising to feel as though it showed him just how little he actually wants to step away from the game and the job. So he's been teasing out the idea that impending retirement isn't in the cards for a while now. With new athletic director John Wildhack, a friend of Boeheim's, now in charge, it seems as though Jim has the freedom to really let loose with the notion that his future remains wide open, as he did when Andy Katz asked:
"I don't know [if I'll keep coaching past 2017-2018]' said the Hall of Fame men's basketball coach, who took the Orange on a surprising run to the Final Four last April. "I'm not sure. For now, we're comfortable moving forward as we are. I'm looking forward to a great year. I'm going to be here this year and next year so all the guys we're recruiting we're going to coach. The staff is going to be consistent. That's where we are right now.''
Or there's this exchange with Donna Ditota today:
When asked specifically whether he would stick to his retirement plan, Boeheim laughed.
"I'm not saying anything," he said.
Just the fact that he's openly admitting he could stay past that deadline implies three things:
1. Time heals all wounds.
2. Success heals wounds even faster.
3. Jim Boeheim can pretty much do whatever he wants in terms of his coaching tenure.