Syracuse Orange Athletic Director John Wildhack was brought in to handle the business of running a Division I athletic department. Coming from ESPN, he was hired to use his experience to help Syracuse navigate the changing world of college athletics. Some wondered if his lack of athletic administration experience would be an issue when it came to handling coaches in the revenue sports. This weekend Wildhack showed that he’s more than capable of handling situations in a manner which protects the future of Syracuse. The contract extension of Head Coach Jim Boeheim may be met with skepticism from media members near and far, but as far as a business decision goes, it’s hard to argue that it isn’t the best possible move.
For a private school battling to compete at the top of a billion-dollar industry, letting Boeheim stay longer is hard to dismiss. We can debate the off-court issues, or Boeheim’s statement that he was committed to making 2017-18 his final season, but we can all agree that his stature will help a University poised to make a $200+ million decision on the Carrier Dome renovations in the very near future.
The Melo Center exists because Jim and Juli Boeheim were able to raise the money needed to launch the project. As SU seeks funding from a variety of sources to renovate the Dome, it’s safe to assume that the Hall of Fame Coach’s ability to connect with donors and politicians will help the cause.
This isn’t a knock on Mike Hopkins, it’s just the reality that at this point in his career he’s not at Boeheim’s level. With over 40+ years on the bench, Jim Boeheim has entrenched himself as the man that Syracuse fans will defend from the slings and arrows of his detractors. If he’s at the front of the team, he’s at the front of the fund-raising efforts as well, and that’s a huge deal for Syracuse University.
It’s no secret that many of us have wondered what Boeheim’s retirement would mean for Syracuse basketball. The nine-game stint last season under Hopkins stoked the fires of pessimism in the fanbase. Lots of Orange fans had their doubts that the program could continue to roll along when Boeheim retired. We heard calls for experience coaches, who would cost Syracuse a lot more than what they are paying Boeheim. For the near future, we don’t have those concerns.
So as we wish Coach Hop the best of luck in Washington, we can thank John Wildhack for doing what’s best for business. The Syracuse Orange business.